COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Parks and Watercraft will be participating in Operation Dry Water as part of a nationally coordinated effort to increase knowledge about the dangers of boating under the influence (BUI). The goal is to reduce the number of accidents and deaths associated with alcohol and drug use on our waterways.
Operation Dry Water weekend, June 30-July 2, is the national weekend of amplified enforcement of boating under the influence laws and recreational boater outreach. Ohio State Parks and Watercraft is reaching out to its constituents and to the entire recreational boating community as part of the yearlong Operation Dry Water campaign to inform and educate boaters about the hazards and negative outcomes associated with boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“Recreational boating is a fun and enjoyable activity. Consuming alcohol while on the water can hinder that experience and create a dangerous scenario for you and others on the water,” said Ohio State Parks and Watercraft Chief Mike Bailey. “Alcohol impairs judgment on the water just as it does when driving a car, even more so because of other factors including sun, heat, wind, noise and the vibrations of the boat. We want everyone to have a great summer on the water, but to do that you’ve got to stay safe and sober.”
As Operation Dry Water weekend and the July 4th holiday approaches, law enforcement and recreational boating safety staff will be out on the water educating boaters about safe boating practices and removing impaired operators from the water. Ohio State Parks and Watercraft supports these efforts as a way to improve boating for all water sport enthusiasts.
Tips to staying safe on the water:
• Boat sober. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths*. Alcohol and drug use impairs a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.
• Always wear your life jacket — 83 percent of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket.
• Take a boating safety education course — 77 percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction, where instruction was known.
Boaters can take the pledge to boat safe and boat sober, and find more information about boating under the influence at operationdrywater.org.