A nationwide campaign gets underway aimed at making waterways safer for all users by cracking down on drunken boating.
Operation Dry Water 2013, which includes thousands of officers with local, state, and federal agencies, runs through the weekend. The initiative was launched by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators along with the US Coast guard.
During last year’s the three-day weekend, Wisconsin law enforcement officers contacted nearly 1,500 vessels, making 11 boating under the influence arrests and issuing 700 other citations and warnings. Nationwide, more than 300 BUI’s were issued last year, bringing the total to more than 1,200 since the program started in 2009.
Since the launch of Operation Dry Water in 2009, the percentage of boating fatalities with alcohol listed as a contributing factor has decreased from 19% to 17%i in the United States. Despite the decrease, BUI still accounts for a disproportional number of on-the-water deaths.
Head of the DNR Recreation Enforcement and Education Todd Schaller says, “Wardens will be removing intoxicated boat operators from the water. We hope to educate as many boaters as possible about the hazards of operating while intoxicated to achieve voluntary compliance.”
Operation Dry Water was intentionally placed the weekend in front of July 4, a holiday often associated with consuming alcohol and hitting the water.