Educating Tampa Bay Area Boaters During Operation Dry Water

Tampa, Fla. (970 WFLA)-Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officers will  spend extra time out on the  water this weekend, participating in  "Operation Dry Water" . 

FWC officers are focusing on educating boaters about safe boating practices, which includes boating sober and enforcing the Florida’s boating under the influence laws.   With the summer boating season underway and the July Fourth holiday approaching, the FWC reminds boaters that impaired boating is against the law. 

The Fourth of July holiday is one of the busiest boating holidays all over the U.S.  In 2017, a total of 944,162 boats were registered in Florida, with an estimated 1 million additional non-registered boats enjoying Florida’s waters.   And last year, July had more reportable accidents (113) and more fatal accidents (11) than any other month.

Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal on all bodies of water and can lead to serious injuries and consequences.   In Florida, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher - the same as it is to operate a vehicle.

Alcohol is a leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths, and a major contributor to accidents.   Last year in Florida, out of the 67 fatal accident victims, 24 percent (16) were related to alcohol or drug use.

If a person decides to take alcohol on their voyage, it is important to designate an operator who isn’t drinking alcohol and will remain sober to ensure everyone gets home safely. 

The FWC encourages boaters to enjoy the boating season to its full extent by boating sober, wearing a life jacket and taking a boating education course.

National Operation Dry Water weekend runs today through July 1.   The mission of Operation Dry Water is to reduce the number of alcohol- and drug-related accidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol use on the water.

Click here for more about Operation Dry Water

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