The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police announced July 3 their active participation in Operation Dry Water, an annual nationwide awareness and enforcement campaign aimed at preventing alcohol and drug-related boating accidents and fatalities.
Over the July 5-7 weekend, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers will increase their presence on Delaware’s waterways to educate boaters on the danger and risk of operating a vessel under the influence. Enforcement efforts against operating under the influence also will be intensified during the Operation Dry Water campaign. Boat operators found with blood alcohol levels at or exceeding the state and federal limit of 0.08% will be arrested and may have their vessel impounded, as well as face fines and potential jail time for operating under the influence.
Alcohol use is a leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, according to national statistics released by the U.S. Coast Guard. Boat operators are urged to stay sober and follow safe boating practices, or to plan ahead by having a non-drinking, qualified designated boat operator on board if alcohol is consumed.
During Operation Dry Water in 2018, Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers made 3,056 contacts with boat operators and passengers and conducted 573 boardings while performing standard vessel safety equipment checks and encouraging safe boating practices. Forty-six citations were issued, helping to raise awareness of and reduce unsafe boating practices, with one of the citations issued for OUI.
Operation Dry Water is coordinated nationwide by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, in partnership with state marine enforcement agencies and the U.S. Coast Guard. For more on Operation Dry Water, visit operationdrywater.org.
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