SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. – Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Rangers will participate in Operation Dry Water June 24-26 looking for boaters whose Blood Alcohol Content exceeds the state limit of .10 percent. Operation Dry Water will include concentrated patrols in certain areas and checkpoints around the lakes and rivers to catch drunken boaters. In Georgia, penalties can include jail time along with high fines and the loss of your privilege to operate any vessel in the state of Georgia.
“We will be doing concentrated safety patrols and checks while trying to educate as many boaters as possible about the hazards of Boating Under the Influence (BUI),” says Capt. Mike England.
A boat operator or passenger with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit runs a significantly increased risk of being involved in a boating accident. When impaired by alcohol, boating accidents are more likely to happen and more deadly for both passengers and boat operators, many of whom capsize their vessel or simply fall overboard.
BUI is a primary contributing factor in nearly 1 in 5 boating fatalities nationwide and Georgia has gotten tougher in recent years in enforcing laws against this high-risk behavior. Boaters found operating a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol concentration of .10 percent or higher will find their voyage terminated and may have their vessel impounded.
Operation Dry Water (ODW), a multi-agency, education and enforcement initiative launched by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in 2009 in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, puts thousands of local, state and federal marine law enforcement officers on the water nationwide the last weekend in June to give BUI enforcement high visibility during the peak boating season.
“There will be arrests this weekend, and some boaters will face the consequences of boating under the influence,” England says. “We want recreational boaters to enjoy themselves, but there will be zero tolerance for BUI.”
Operation Dry Water is a joint program of Georgia DNR, NASBLA and the U.S. Coast Guard. For more information, visit www.operationdrywater.org.
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. NASBLA offers a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards and publications. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, NASBLA affects the lives of more than 83 million American boaters.
The United States Coast Guard is a military, multi-mission, maritime service within the Department of Homeland Security and one of the nation’s five armed services. Its core roles are to protect the public, the environment, and U.S. economic and security interests in any maritime region in which those interests may be at risk, including international waters and America’s coasts, ports, and inland waterways.
Robin Hill, communications/outreach specialist – 770-918-6789; [email protected]