Nearly 100 impaired vessel operators removed from Florida waterways during Operation Dry Water
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers had one main goal in mind for the July Fourth holiday weekend: to keep boaters safe. The Independence Day weekend is one of the busiest boating holidays of the year and FWC officers, with the partnership of many other law enforcement agencies, were on the lookout for impaired boaters throughout the “Boating and Fishing Capital of the World.”
Between July 2-4, FWC officers arrested 93 vessel operators for boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, possibly preventing a life-altering incident from occurring. Some of the boaters arrested for BUI had small children on board. Operating a vessel while impaired not only puts the operator and those onboard their vessel at risk, but all those boating around them are also in danger.
Alcohol consumption while boating is dangerous for the operator of the vessel, as well as for passengers. Impairment can lead to slips, falls overboard, injuries and deaths that could have been prevented had the individual not been impaired.
“Many tragic incidents were likely avoided on the water during the July Fourth holiday weekend due to the hard work of FWC and partner agency officers removing impaired boaters from behind the wheel,” said Col. Roger Young, Director of FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement. “Impaired and intoxicated boating is dangerous and deadly for both operators and passengers. We have a zero-tolerance policy for boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs and if you are found to be operating impaired, you will be arrested.”
The FWC reminds all boaters on the water this summer to enjoy time with friends and family but do so safely and don’t forget to designate a sober operator before departing from the dock.
For more information about boating safety, visit MyFWC.com/boating.
About Operation Dry Water
Over the July Fourth holiday weekend, law enforcement officers and agencies across the United States were on the water educating boaters on safe boating practices as part of the annual Operation Dry Water weekend, July 2-4. Operation Dry Water is a national awareness and enforcement campaign focused on reducing the number of alcohol- and drug-related incidents and fatalities on the water. Officers are on heightened alert looking for those in violation of boating under the influence laws. The month of July sees the highest total number of recreational boating incidents nationally.
Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater fatalities and a leading factor in recreational boating incidents. Law enforcement agencies from all 56 U.S. states and territories participated in Operation Dry Water. These agencies focus their efforts on detecting impaired boaters, removing them from our nation’s waterways and educating the public about the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Since the launch of the Operation Dry Water campaign in 2009, 5,320 impaired operators have been removed from our nation’s waterways, preventing dangerous and potentially tragic consequences. Officers also made contact with over 2.2 million boaters during the annual three-day weekend as part of the outreach campaign. In 2021, 575 agencies from every state and territory participated in Operation Dry Water.