The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will be working to keep waterways safe this weekend.
During the national Operation Dry Water campaign officers will focus on removing impaired operators from the water and educating boaters about safety.
The Fourth of July holiday is one of the busiest boating holidays all over the U.S., including here in Florida. There are over 950,000 boats registered in the state and an estimated 1 million additional non-registered boats enjoying Florida’s waters.
Boaters should know that operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal 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.
“As law enforcement, it is our job to do all we can to ensure the safety of our recreational boaters and paddlers,” said Maj. Robert Rowe, FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section Leader. “The accidents and tragedies that happen because individuals choose to drive impaired, on land or on the water, are preventable. We’re joining other agencies across the country to keep boaters safe and prevent accidents related to BUI.”
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.
The national Operation Dry Water weekend will take place July 5 through 7. For more information, MyFWC.com/Boating and OperationDryWater.org. FWC 2018 Boating Accident Statistics Link: MyFWC.com/Boating/Safety-Education/Accidents.