FWC supports 'Operation Dry Water' for 2nd year
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Media contact: Capt. Carol Keyser, 850-488-5600
It may seem like an oxymoron, but the Florida Fish
and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants Florida waters to
remain dry this summer. "Dry," as in free of alcohol, that is.
"More than 26 percent of Florida's fatal boating
accidents in 2009 were the result of alcohol or drug use," said
Capt. Carol Keyser, of the FWC's Boating and Waterways section.
"Boaters who have had too much to drink or who are impaired by
drugs are a great danger to the boating public."
The FWC is making every effort to decrease the
number of accidents to keep Florida waters safe. This weekend, the
FWC, the U.S. Coast Guard and state and local law enforcement
agencies are participating in "Operation Dry Water" - a nationwide
public-education effort aimed at reducing boating under the
influence (BUI) incidents and the number of alcohol-related
accidents and fatalities.
"We know that increased officer effort reduces
boating accidents and saves lives. Saving lives is what 'Operation
Dry Water' is really all about," Keyser said.
2009 was the inaugural year for this effort.
Agencies in 51 states and U.S. territories participated, and nearly
300 impaired boaters were taken off the water before they could
kill or injure themselves or someone else. The program's
effectiveness last year led to another year of the "Operation Dry
Water" effort this year.
Boating under the influence includes not only the
effects of drinking alcohol, but also the effects that drugs -
prescribed and otherwise - may cause. Being under the influence of
alcohol or drugs impairs a boat operator's vision and reaction
time. Sun, wind, fatigue and other conditions can intensify the
effects alcohol or drugs have on a boater. Intoxicated boaters are
susceptible to injuries or falling overboard because of impaired
coordination and balance.
"Anticipate increased patrols for BUI violators by
the FWC and local marine units," Keyser said. "We also will be
educating the public about other aspects of safe boating. In
addition to remaining sober while operating a vessel, boaters are
reminded to abide by all applicable navigation rules, have all the
required safety equipment onboard, and to wear a life jacket at all
times while on the water.
"If you're caught boating under the influence, you
may be fined and jailed, your boat may seized, and you could lose
your boating privileges," Keyser said. "But most importantly, you
are risking your life, the lives of your passengers and the lives
of other persons out on the water.
"We are setting the tone for the summer. We want
everyone to have a great time and stay safe on the water," Keyser
said. "Boaters are responsible for making decisions that keep
themselves and others safe. Drinking while operating a boat is a
careless decision that can result in a tragic ending to an
otherwise wonderful day on the water."
For more information, please visit www.operationdrywater.org or