RALEIGH, N.C. – Law enforcement officers from local, state and federal agencies will be out in force June 24-26 for Operation Dry Water, an annual campaign focused on the detection and enforcement of boating while impaired. A secondary objective is to raise awareness among all boaters that it is unsafe, as well as illegal, to operate a boat under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
This year in North Carolina, Operation Dry Water is incorporated into the state’s “On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign.
“Impaired boat operators pose the same risk for injuries and fatalities as does impaired drivers,” said Maj. Chris Huebner of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the state boating safety coordinator. “No matter what you drive, be responsible. Penalties for boating while impaired can include fines up to $1,000 and jail, but the greater peril is having an accident. Nearly one in three boating-related fatalities are alcohol related.”
Held each year during the weekend before the July 4th holiday, Operation Dry Water is coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard, with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, assisted by partner law enforcement agencies leading the North Carolina campaign.
On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive is a multi-agency initiative designed to combine law enforcement resources in ensuring that everyone can safely travel on highways and waterways during the summer months.
Wildlife Officers with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are charged with enforcing the boating laws and regulations on the public waters of the state, and routinely stop vessels for safety checks or violations. The goal of this enforcement is always safety. Drinking, even at levels below legal intoxication, affects the skills necessary to operate any vessel, including:
Peripheral vision and ability to focus
Judgment and rational decision-making
Balance and equilibrium
Coordination and reaction time
After the recent Memorial Day weekend, participating agencies in the On the Road, On the Water campaign reported violations and warnings issued over the holiday as follows:
State Highway Patrol
- Driving While Impaired: 278
- Provisional License Violation: 44
- Other Implied Consent Violation: 76
- Drug Violations: 38
- Drug Paraphernalia: 19
- Seatbelt Violations: 1922
- Child Restraint Violations: 171
- Equipment Violations: 705
- Driver License Violation: 1273
- Registration Violation: 1336
- Other Violations: 4330
Wildlife Resources Commission
- Operate While Impaired: 50
- Careless and Negligent Operation: 5
- Other Boat Violations: 432
- Other Boat Warnings: 1081
Alcohol Law Enforcement
- Under Age Possession: 21
- Under Age Aiding & Abetting Possession/Purchase: 5
- Sell Alcohol to Underage Person: 1
- Unauthorized Possession: 4
- Allow Unauthorized Person Drive: 1
- Consuming While Driving: 3
- No Operators License: 1
- Possess Open Container: 7
- Misdemeanor Drug Violation: 7
For more information on safe recreational boating in North Carolina, go to www.ncwildlife.org or call (919) 707-0031.
About N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission
Since 1947, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has been dedicated to the conservation and sustainability of the state’s fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use, and public input. The Commission is the state regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws and provides programs and opportunities for wildlife-related educational, recreational and sporting activities. To learn more, visit www.ncwildlife.org.
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Public Information Officer