“Operation Dry Water” Kicks Off Today

The Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office is joining the U.S. Coast Guard, Wisconsin DNR, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and others in the annual Operation Dry Water campaign, a coordinated campaign to educate boaters about the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. During the Operation Dry Water three-day heightened awareness and enforcement weekend, July 2-4, boaters will see an increase in outreach, education and enforcement surrounding boating under the influence.

Alcohol use continues to be the leading known contributing factor in recreational boater deaths and a leading contributor in boating accidents.  The mission of Operation Dry Wateris to reduce the number of alcohol and drug-related incidents and fatalities on the water. The Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office will be out educating boaters on ways to stay safe while on the water and taking enforcement action when necessary.

Operating under the influence applies to drugs as well as alcohol.  Even some prescription drugs can make operating a recreational vessel unsafe.  Alcohol and drugs can impair a boater’s judgement, balance, vision, and reaction time.  Alcohol and drugs can increase fatigue and the effects of cold-water immersion.  Alcohol and drugs can intensify the effects of common boat environmental stressors such as sun, wind, noise, vibration, and motion. It is illegal to operate a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher or with a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in your system

Wisconsin statistics for 2019 indicate that 254 citations were issued for alcohol violations involving boaters across the state.  82 reportable boat incidents were investigated resulting in 50 people injured and 9 fatalities across the state.

The goal is to reduce the number of alcohol and drug related accidents and fatalities on waterways for all who use them, from boaters to passengers to swimmers. The use of waterways should be an enjoyable and relaxing activity.  As you prepare to take to the water this holiday weekend, and at all times, take the time to ensure your safety, the safety of those you are responsible for, and the safety of others on the water as well.