KANSAS CITY, Mo. ¾ Boating under the influence accounts for approximately 25 percent of boating-related fatalities on lakes in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District. To raise awareness about the effects of boating under the influence, the USACE will participate in the safe boating initiative Operation Dry Water June 24-26.
Operation Dry Water is an event coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. This nationally coordinated heightened awareness and enforcement campaign focuses on deterring boaters from boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“Since the inception of Operation Dry Water in 2009, boating fatalities with alcohol named as a contributing factor have decreased three percent nationwide, according to U.S. Coast Guard 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics,” said Heath Kruger, a natural resources management specialist with the district.
Not only are the impacts potentially life altering, but driving a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher is against federal law. Persons found to be boating under the influence can expect to incur severe penalties. If a boat operator is driving under the influence, the voyage may be terminated, boat impounded or the operator arrested. Charges for BUI vary by state, but may include fines, jail time, impoundment of the boat, or even loss of driving privileges. Though a variety of consequences exist for these charges, boating under the influence always has the potential to have a dramatic impact in the event of the loss of a friend or family member.
Participating agencies will be out this weekend focusing their efforts on detecting impaired boaters and educating the public about the dangers of BUI.
“Environmental stressors such as wind, noise, and the movement of the boat while on the water intensify the effects of alcohol or drug use on an individual while boating,” said Kruger. “Boaters can become impaired more quickly on the water than on land.
Operation Dry Water is a year-round boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign with the mission of reducing the number of alcohol and drug related accidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water.
For more information about Operation Dry Water and boating safety visit: www.operationdrywater.org or www.watersafety.usace.army.mil.