Police to Target Intoxicated Boaters Coming Weekend

ANNAPOLIS (June 22, 2010) – From June 25 through June 27, the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) will participate in Operation Dry Water, a nationally-coordinated program to raise awareness about the dangerous use of alcohol in a boating environment. During this weekend, detection and enforcement of boating under the influence will be a nation-wide priority.

“Our main focus with Operation Dry Water is to prevent accidents and fatalities while making our waterways safer and more enjoyable for all boaters,” said NRP Colonel George F. Johnson IV.

Operation Dry Water is organized by the National Association of State Boating Law Enforcement Administrators. The NRP, the United States Coast Guard and local law enforcement agencies will utilize increased personnel to patrol during the weekend. Officers will be targeting high-accident areas and areas where boating and alcohol have been a problem in the past, but patrols will take place in every part of the state.

Nationwide, 21 percent of boating fatalities result from alcohol use. In Maryland, alcohol and illegal drug use were a contributing factor in 8 of 16 fatal boating accidents and 204 alcohol-related charges were placed against boaters in 2009. The maximum penalty for operating a vessel while impaired by alcohol is a $1000 fine and a year in jail for the first offense.

The sun, wind and water can cause fatigue in boaters. Alcohol use magnifies this fatigue, impairs judgment and can lead to accidents and death.

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