Operation Dry Water: Law enforcement patrolling for intoxicated boaters

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NEW YORK (WWTI) — Thousands of law enforcement officers across the country are preparing for heightened patrols for the Fourth of July weekend.

Starting July 2, the New York State Park Police and State Department of Environmental Conservation, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and United States Coast Guard, along with other state and local agencies will participate in Operation Dry Water.

This heightened awareness and enforcement campaign will specifically target those boating while intoxicated to focus on preventing incidents related to impaired boating.

“With summer kicking off and the public eager to get back to normal from COVID-19 shutdowns, we expect there will be a lot of boating traffic on the waterways during the Holiday weekend. Boating While Intoxicated is dangerous and illegal and can lead to serious consequences including arrest,  serious injuries and even death,” said Park Police Acting Assistant Director of Law Enforcement Michael Pavelock.

DEC Division of Law Enforcement Director Bernard Rivers added, “Much like any motor vehicle, boats can be deadly weapons in the wrong hands. It is absolutely critical that those heading out on New York waters this holiday weekend are not impaired by alcohol or drugs, as that can turn an enjoyable day into a tragic one in an instant.”

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths.

Over the holiday weekend, officers from all agencies will work to increase public awareness for both operators and passengers and confirmed they will be making arrests under a zero tolerance approach.

Operation Dry Water first began in 2009 and is a year-round boating under the influence awareness enforcement campaign.

In 2020, the effort involved over 7,600 officers across the country, resulting in about 105,000 vessel stops and more than 8,600 citations, including 625 for boating while intoxicated. 

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