The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be participating in Operation Dry Water, June 22-24. Operation Dry Water is a national weekend of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) education and enforcement directed toward reducing alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities.
Operation Dry Water is held on a weekend near the July 4th holiday to give BUI enforcement high visibility during the peak boating season. The TWRA is teaming with the U.S. Coast Guard and the State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). Operation Dry Water is being held for the fourth year after being launched by the NASBLA in 2009.
TWRA boating officers will saturate high traffic areas on reservoirs across the state. Along with the use of life jackets and other safety practices, officers want boaters to be aware of the effects and ramifications of alcohol use. The TWRA will be intensifying efforts to detect and apprehend boat operators who are operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“Our TWRA officers attempt to identify and apprehend impaired operators throughout the year to ensure our waterways stay safe,” said Matt Majors, investigator for TWRA’s Boating and Law Enforcement Division. “Without their dedication to perform this task, it would be certain that many more boating accidents would occur. Our officers will be out in force night and day, looking for people who did not heed the warning to ‘Never boat under the influence’. ”
Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 percent or higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating a motor vehicle. Penalties may include fines, jail, boat impoundment and the loss of boat driving privileges.
Statistics show that more than 20 percent of boating-related fatalities are a result of alcohol use. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications.
For more information, visit www.operationdrywater.org.