State marine law enforcement officials are warning Connecticut boaters to stay sober this weekend as officers take to the waters nationwide for an extra push to catch those who may be boating under the influence.
'Operation Dry Water'
Operation Dry Water will include statewide increased patrols and checkpoints, as well as boater education efforts. Impaired boaters can expect penalties to be severe. In Connecticut they include fines, jail and loss of boating privileges.
"We intend to arrest intoxicated boaters and to educate as many boaters as possible about the hazards of Boating while Under the Influence,” said Colonel Kyle Overturf of the EnCon Police and spokesperson for the Operation Dry Water Campaign. "There will be arrests this weekend, and some boaters will face the consequences of boating under the influence. We want recreational boaters to enjoy themselves, but there will be zero tolerance for BUI."
Boating Under the Influence
Boating While Under the Influence (BUI) continues to be a major problem in Connecticut and the U.S. Alcohol was a contributing factor in 16 percent of boating fatalities in the U.S. last year.
In Connecticut, increased from six during 2001-2005 to 22 from 2006-2010. In 2011, DEEP EnCon Police made 15 arrests for BUI statewide.
A boat operator or even passengers with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit run a significantly increased risk of being involved in a fatal boating accident.
When impaired by alcohol, boating accidents are more probable and more deadly for both passengers and boat operators, many of whom capsize their vessel or simply fall overboard.
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 prior to the July 4 holiday to give BUI enforcement high visibility during the peak boating season.