The Independence Day holiday typically means more boaters spending more time on the water across the United States, which typically results in an increase in the number of boating incidents and fatalities.
As a result, from July 2–4, Indiana Conservation Officers, in partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard, will participate in the national Operation Dry Water heightened awareness and enforcement weekend.
During those days, law enforcement agencies from across the country will be focused on educating boaters about safe boating practices, including sober boating. Because alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in recreational boater deaths, Indiana Conservation Officers will be working to increase public awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, for boat operators and their passengers.
“The tragedies that happen on our waterways because individuals choose to boat while impaired are preventable,” says Indiana Boating Law Administrator Lt. Kenton Turner. “It is our job to do everything we can to ensure the safety of our recreational boaters and paddlers. That is why Indiana Conservation Officers are joining all states and U.S. territories to do our part in keeping boaters safe and preventing incidents, deaths, and injuries caused by boating under the influence.”
Boaters during Independence Day weekend will notice an overall increase in officer patrols on the water and at recreational boating checkpoints. The aim of the combined efforts of the participating law enforcement agencies and outreach partners is to remove impaired operators from our waterways, providing a safer and more enjoyable experience for everyone on the water.
Operating a vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal on all bodies of water and can lead to serious injuries, death, property damage, and legal consequences. Indiana Conservation Officers reminds boaters to always boat sober and to wear a life jacket when on or around the water.