Ohio watercraft officers increase patrols to stop boating under the influence

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will be participating in Operation Dry Water June 26-28, as part of a nationally coordinated effort to reduce the number of accidents and deaths related to boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“Drinking and boating are a combination that can lead to serious and even deadly, consequences,” said Mike Miller, chief of the ODNR Division of Watercraft. “It is critical for operators and passengers to stay sober and stay safe at all times while boating.”

The leading factor in boater deaths nationwide is alcohol use while boating. Operation Dry Water will focus on increased patrols, breathalyzer tests and checkpoints, as well as boater education about the dangers of boating under the influence.

In Ohio, boaters whose blood alcohol content level exceeds the state limit of .08 can expect to be arrested for Boating Under the Influence (BUI) and may face other serious penalties, including fines, jail and loss of privileges to register and operate boats.

During last year’s three-day Operation Dry Water, ODNR Division of Watercraft officers contacted boaters on more than 660 vessels and made three arrests for BUI.

Operation Dry Water is a joint program of the ODNR Division of Watercraft, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), the U.S. Coast Guard and local marine patrol officers. For more information on Operation Dry Water, visit operationdrywater.org.

The ODNR Division of Watercraft is responsible for boating safety, education and law enforcement on all waters of the state. This statewide area includes the near-shore area along 451 miles of the Ohio River, approximately half the entire surface area of Lake Erie, more than 605 inland lakes and more than 60,000 miles of inland streams, rivers and other 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.