Operation Dry Water returns in June

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Operation Dry Water will take place during the weekend of June 27-29, helping to bring awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol, the largest contributor to boating-related injuries and deaths in the United States.

To help draw public attention to the dangers of BUI, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators launched Operation Dry Water in 2009 in partnership with the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard recently released its 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics report and the figures show the largest decrease in the number of alcohol-related recreational boater deaths in the past five years. From 2012 to 2013 there was a 31 percent decrease in the number of boater deaths where alcohol use was the known primary contributing factor.

As the boating season gets under way in much of the country, the improved BUI-related statistics are encouraging to boating safety educators, professionals and marine law enforcement officials who work year-round to educate boaters and instill in them the dangers and consequences of boating under the influence.

Although the decrease in the number of deaths is a great step forward, BUI continues to be a major problem in the United States. During the past five years alcohol use has remained the leading known contributing factor in boater deaths.

Every year, in addition to the year-round outreach efforts of the campaign, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and boating safety partners participate in Operation Dry Water, a nationwide three-day heightened BUI enforcement period.

In 2013, more than 6,200 law enforcement officers across the country participated in Operation Dry Water. Officers removed 290 BUI operators from the water and made contact with more than 144,000 boaters during that weekend, educating them about BUI and safe boating practices.