COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Watercraft is among a growing number of state and local marine patrol agencies participating June 24-26 in a special nationwide crackdown on alcohol-impaired boating known as Operation Dry Water. This will be the third year of the special nationwide marine enforcement effort initiated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
In 2010, Ohio Division of Watercraft officers contacted 3,810 boaters and made 11 arrests for boating while intoxicated during the Operation Dry Water enforcement weekend. A total of 198 other alcohol and boating-related violations were issued in addition to 754 warnings. No boating-related fatalities were recorded during last year’s Operation Dry Water weekend in Ohio (June 25-27, 2010).
Alcohol is involved in about one of every three boating-related accidents on Ohio waterways. While state watercraft officers and local marine patrols are always on the lookout for impaired boat operators, Operation Dry Water (www.operationdrywater.org) is an organized national effort that focuses greater awareness of the need for boaters to boat smart, boat sober and make a commitment to staying safe on the water.
And it’s not just drunk boaters who are the focus of marine officers. Drug-impaired boating and drug-related arrests are more prevalent today on the nation’s waterways, which increases the risk to boating safety for all boaters. Operation Dry Water also seeks to remove boat operators who may be under the influence of drugs while boating as a means of enhancing waterway safety.
As with the 2009 and 2010 Operation Dry Water campaigns, watercraft officers and local marine patrol units will focus much of their attention during this year’s Operation Dry Water on inland waterways that attract the largest numbers of recreational boaters. Shared multi-jurisdictional waterways enforcement efforts also will occur on the Ohio River and Lake Erie.
The ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.
John Wisse, ODNR Division of Watercraft
614. 265. 6695
Jason Fallon, ODNR Office of Communications
614. 265. 6842