2010-07-03 / News

Focus will be on impaired boaters

COLUMBUS – The arrival of a three-day Fourth of July holiday weekend, July 3-5, signals what is generally the busiest recreational boating weekend of the season. Ohio boaters can expect continued law enforcement activities on state waterways, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Watercraft.

“Our focus this Fourth of July holiday weekend will remain on removing impaired boaters from our waterways and enforcing all boating rules,” said Pamela Dillon, chief of the Division of Watercraft. “These efforts are shared among additional officers at the local, state and federal levels, such as our marine patrol partners and U.S. Coast Guard.”

During the past weekend, June 25-27, Division of Watercraft officers participated in a nationwide crackdown called Operation Dry Water to remove boaters impaired by alcohol and drugs from state waterways. The operation resulted in the arrests of 11 intoxicated boaters and 198 other alcohol and boating-related violations. A total of 3,810 boaters were contacted during the weekend enforcement action.

Boat operators are considered legally impaired by alcohol consumption if the blood alcohol content is .08 percent or higher, similar to Ohio’s motor vehicle laws. The Division of Watercraft says that reducing the number of alcohol-related boating accidents and fatalities is essential to further improving waterways safety.

“Our message is to boat sober, wear a life jacket while boating and observe the boating rules of the road and our boating laws to keep boating a safe activity for everyone,” said Dillon.

During last year’s Operation Dry Water, the Division of Watercraft made 12 arrests of intoxicated boaters, two drug-related arrests and issued more than 100 citations for additional alcohol and boating-related violations statewide. For more information, visit http://www.operationdrywater. org/.

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