June 29, 2023 – Charlotte County, FL
As the July 4th holiday approaches, millions of boaters from across the country will convene on our nation’s waterways. With the increased public presence on the water, there is also an increase in the number of boating incidents and fatalities that take place during this time.
From July 1 – 3, CCSO, in partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard, will be participating in the national Operation Dry Water heightened awareness and enforcement weekend. Participating law enforcement agencies will be focused on educating boaters about safe boating practices across the country, which includes sober boating. Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in recreational boater fatalities.
In the days leading up to the July 4th holiday, CCSO will be working to increase public awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, for both operators and passengers. Boaters will notice an overall increase in officer patrols both on the water and at recreational boating checkpoints. The priority during this holiday weekend is to provide boaters with a safe and enjoyable experience by removing dangerous and impaired boaters from the waterways.
“Boating incidents involving alcohol or other substances are avoidable, not to mention inexcusable. In Charlotte County, we take this issue very seriously. Please be responsible when you’re out on the water – and when you’re not – to ensure your safety and the safety of everyone around you.”Sheriff Bill Prummell
Operating a vessel while impaired is illegal on all bodies of water and can lead to serious injuries, death, and legal consequences. In Florida, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. CCSO reminds boaters to always boat sober and to wear a life jacket when on or around the water. Whether you’re at the helm of the vessel or a passenger on board, boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs is equally dangerous.
Operation Dry Water is a year-round boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign with the purpose of reducing the number of alcohol and drug related incidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water. Visit operationdrywater.org for more information about boating under the influence.
2021 U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics
2019 Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Research Report