The state Department of Environmental Protection announced that Environmental Conservation Police Marine law enforcement officers will participate in Operation Dry Water and will be out in force June 24-26 looking for boaters with a blood alcohol content exceeding the state limit of .08 percent.
That includes boaters and jet-ski operators on the Connecticut River.
Operation Dry Water will include state-wide increased patrols and checkpoints, as well as boater education. Impaired boaters can expect penalties to be severe. In Connecticut they include fines, jail and loss of boating privileges.
“We intend to stop intoxicated boaters and to educate as many boaters as possible about the hazards of Boating while Under the Influence,” said EnCon Police Officer Holly Bernier, spokesperson for the Operation Dry Water Campaign, in a press release.
A boat operator or passenger with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit runs a significantly increased risk of being involved in a boating accident. When impaired by alcohol, boating accidents are more likely and more deadly for both passengers and boat operators, many of whom capsize their vessel or simply fall overboard.
BUI is a primary contributing factor in nearly 1 in 5 boating fatalities nationwide, and Connecticut has gotten tougher in recent years in enforcing laws against this high-risk behavior. Boaters found operating a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher will find their voyage terminated and may have their vessel impounded.
Operation Dry Water, a multi-agency, education and enforcement initiative launched by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in 2009 in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, puts thousands of local, state and federal marine law enforcement officers on the water nationwide the last weekend in June to give BUI enforcement high visibility during the peak boating season.
Operation Dry Water is a joint program of the Connecticut Environmental Conservation Police, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and the U.S. Coast Guard. For more information, visit www.operationdrywater.org. or the DEP website at http://www.ct.gov/dep.