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North American Safe Boating Campaign Supports Operation Dry Water, Never Boat Under the Influence

Boating is a fun and social activity, but can end fatally if done while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Boating under the influence, or BUI, is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

“The July 4 holiday is around the corner, and unfortunately is known for drinking and boating, and deadly accidents,” said Rachel Johnson, CAE, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council, and lead organization for the North American Safe Boating Campaign, a yearlong effort focused on boating safety.

“Operating a boat – or even being a passenger – is incredibly risky while under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” she said. “Drunken passengers can easily fall overboard, swim near the propeller, lean over the side, or stand up in small boats, causing them
to capsize.”

The side effects of alcohol or drug use, such as impaired judgment, reduced balance and poor coordination, are magnified while boating, due to environmental conditions from the sun, wind and boat motion.

“Impairment can be even more dangerous for boaters, since most have less experience and confidence operating a boat than they do driving a car,” said John Johnson, CAE, executive director and CEO of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), a partner of the North American Safe Boating Campaign.

NASBLA, in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard and law enforcement agencies nationwide, is coordinating the 9th annual Operation Dry Water three-day weekend. This heightened BUI awareness and enforcement effort will be held from June 30 to July 2 in every U.S. state and territory.

During the 2016 Operation Dry Water heightened awareness and enforcement weekend, nearly 6,200 officers from 538 local, state and federal agencies made contact with 131,054 boaters and made 367 BUI arrests.

“We’re proud to support Operation Dry Water, and hope this effort continues to inspire responsible boating and save lives,” continued Ms. Johnson.

The North American Safe Boating Campaign unites the efforts of a wide variety of boating safety advocates and is produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.

For more information and to follow the campaign on social media, please visit www.safeboatingcampaign.com.