For Immediate Release
Major Mike Minarik, 804-829-6580
Boating Law Administrator Tom Guess, 804-367-8693
NOTE: This news release was distributed on 6/22/2011. The information below may no longer be the most up-to-date information available, or may pertain solely to events that occurred in the past. Please contact the person listed as the contact person for this release for the most current information.
Thinking About Having a Cold One on Your Boat This Weekend? Think Again
Operation Dry Water "Boating Under the Influence" Enforcement will be Underway
Richmond, VA — Virginia boaters, take note that this weekend, June 24th-26th, Conservation Police Officers with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) will be patrolling Virginia's waterways looking for boat operators with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. Operation Dry Water is a national effort coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).
Boating under the influence is not only dangerous to watercraft operators, but also to their passengers and others who enjoy Virginia's waterways. Nationwide almost 20 percent of boating-related fatalities are a result of alcohol, drugs, and some medications. These substances can slow reaction times, impair vision, and lead to boating accidents.
Operating a boat with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher is illegal in Virginia. Penalties may include fines, jail, impoundment of boats, and loss of boating privileges. Other consequences could include higher insurance rates and impacts on employment as a BUI conviction is a public record.
Boaters should never boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Designate an operator or leave the alcohol on shore.
In an effort to promote increased awareness of the dangers of boating while under the influence, VDGIF asks Virginians to support programs and policies that help reduce the incidence of impaired boating, to promote safer and healthier behavior regarding the use of alcohol and other drugs and to provide opportunities for all to participate in and enjoy a safe recreational boating season this year.
For more information about Operation Dry Water and boating laws in Virginia visit www.dgif.virginia.gov.
Background on Operation Dry Water
Operation Dry Water is a coordinated, national weekend of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) detection and enforcement aimed at reducing the number of alcohol-related recreational boating accidents and fatalities and fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol use on the water.
This nationwide effort is being coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) working in concert with the states, the United States Coast Guard, and other partner agencies across the country.
VDGIF Conservation Police Officers will be patrolling the waterways in the Commonwealth during this weekend and will be conducting BUI focused enforcement, saturation patrols, chemical (breath) tests, checkpoints, and educational efforts.
Last year there were 105 reported boat accidents in Virginia resulting in 15 deaths. Regrettably, alcohol use plays a role in many boating accidents, and failure to wear a life jacket also contributes to many fatalities on the water each year. More information about boating incidents in Virginia can be found on the agency website www.dgif.virginia.gov.
Recreational boaters need to know:
* Always Wear a Life Jacket
* Do Not Mix Alcohol and Boating
* Take a Safe Boating Course.
Our ultimate goal is for recreational boaters to Be Safe... Be Responsible... And Have Fun!