COLUMBUS — When hitting the water this holiday weekend, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) reminds everyone that boating and alcohol are a dangerous combination. Operation Dry Water puts a focus on staying sober while boating on Ohio waterways over the July 4th holiday weekend.
“Boating under the influence puts everyone on your boat and everyone on the water around you in danger,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “The best way to enjoy a safe July 4th holiday is by leaving the alcohol at home and reminding everyone on board to wear a life jacket.”
Operation Dry Water (ODW) is a national year-round campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence. The 2021 awareness and enforcement three-day weekend will take place July 2-4. ODNR natural resource officers will be focusing their efforts this holiday weekend to keep impaired boaters off Ohio waterways. Officers will also be educating people on the importance of sober boating.
In Ohio, alcohol is involved in nearly a quarter of all fatal boating accidents. Just like driving a car, it is illegal in Ohio to operate a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. Operating a boat under the influence carries serious penalties such as being arrested and having the boat impounded.
Alcohol impairs a boater’s judgement, vision, and reaction time. Alcohol also increases fatigue. Common stressors, such as sun, wind, vibration, and motion, can intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs, and some medications.
Alcohol use is dangerous for passengers as well. Intoxicated passengers can easily slip, fall overboard, or suffer other life-threatening injuries.
Watch this video for steps to take to keep everyone safe on the water.
Coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, Operation Dry Water is a national crackdown on impaired boating. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths, and a leading factor in recreational boating accidents, according to the U.S Coast Guard’s 2019 boating statistics.
The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft administers Ohio’s boating programs. Funding to support local marine patrol units comes from the state’s Waterways Safety Fund, which is comprised of the state motor fuel tax, watercraft registration and titling fees, as well as funds provided by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft provides exceptional outdoor recreation and boating opportunities by balancing outstanding customer service, education, and conservation of Ohio’s 75 state parks and waterways.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.