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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

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FWC Running “Operation Dry Water” To Curb Boating Under The Influence

Operation Dry Water (ODW) weekend will take place July 4 through July 6. The national weekend of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) detection and enforcement is aimed at reducing the number of alcohol and drug related boating incidents and fatalities. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and other participating law enforcement agencies will work together to make Florida waterbodies safer by identifying and removing dangerous or impaired vessel operators.

Every year, heightened awareness and enforcement efforts occur over the three-day weekend around Independence Day, a busy boating holiday often plagued by drinking while boating and deadly incidents. During that weekend and throughout the year, FWC law enforcement officers play a vital role in protecting lives by promoting safe boating practices, fostering a culture of responsible behavior on the water and ensuring compliance with the law. 

“The safety of people enjoying our beautiful waterways here in Florida is a year-round priority for our officers” said Maj. Bill Holcomb, FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section Leader. “Expect saturation patrols statewide during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday and throughout the weekend. We will be looking for any signs of boater impairment and removing unsafe boaters from the water.”

During the ODW weekend, law enforcement officers will increase their presence on waterways, engaging with boaters to educate them about the risks of impaired boating. The goal is to combine education and enforcement to significantly reduce alcohol- and drug-related boating incidents.

Operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal on all bodies of water and can lead to series injuries and consequences. In Florida, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, the same as in a vehicle. 

In collaboration with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard, the FWC will kick off the 2024 ODW weekend with a national launch event in Destin, Florida, on Wednesday, July 3, 2024.

The FWC reminds boaters to remain sober to ensure the safety of everyone with and around them and encourages boaters to wear a life jacket and take a boating education course. For more information, visit MyFWC.com/Boating and OperationDryWater.org.

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Carl Fish

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