Operation Dry Water, the national campaign aimed at raising awareness of boating under the influence, occurred last weekend, but the Coast Guard is reminding boaters to continue to operate in a safe manner for the Fourth of July weekend.
This year, Coast Guard Station New York and partner agencies increased their presence on the Hudson River and nearby waterways to deter boating while intoxicated. Station New York joined police from Union County, Westchester County, Green County and New York State, as well as the Ulster County sheriff's office and U.S. Parks Police, resulting in the largest local interagency participation in Operation Dry Water to date.
Their efforts last weekend resulted in more than 80 safety boardings, one termination of a voyage and the arrest of a Nyack man by the Westchester County Marine Unit on charges of operating while intoxicated, according to Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System.
On Raystown Lake in Pennsylvania, at least one sobriety stop resulted in a lapsed registration citation.
In Topeka, Kan., where rain limited boating activities, two boaters were arrested and three were found to be under the legal limit when tested. However, 12 citations were handed out to minors with alcohol, and to one person for providing alcohol to minors.
On the Monday following Operation Dry Water, a 26-year-old Maryland man jumped from a rented pontoon while it was underway. The boat ran over him, and he suffered lacerations to his shoulder, neck and head.
The boat’s operator failed field sobriety tests and will likely be charged, according to the Delmarva Times.
Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, according to the Coast Guard’s Recreational boating Statistics. Alcohol was a contributing factor in 305 of last year’s 4,062 reported accidents.