Officers from 50 marine law enforcement agencies will be out Friday through Sunday for Operation Dry Water, the annual campaign to enforce boating under the influence laws on Washington’s waterways.
The campaign focuses on preventing accidents, injuries and deaths resulting from people abusing alcohol or drugs while operating boats. According to Washington State Parks Boating Programs, at least 30 people died between 2007-11 in reportable boating accidents where alcohol use was a contributing factor.
The main focus of the campaign is to raise awareness of the problem and remove impaired boat operators from the water by actively enforcing the law that prohibits using alcohol and drugs while operating a boat. The goal of this nationwide effort is to influence boaters to make the decision to boat unimpaired and to reinforce it with a zero-tolerance enforcement policy.
According to the most recent U.S. Coast Guard statistics, alcohol is the leading contributing factor in boating fatalities; nearly one in five boating fatalities each year is the result of boaters impaired by alcohol.