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FRANKFORT, Ky. –Conservation Officers with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will team up with federal, state and local law enforcement officers to make boating safer for families and others during Operation Dry Water, June 24-26.
This weekend is devoted to boating law enforcement and education both nationwide and on Kentucky’s lakes and rivers.
Now in its third year, Operation Dry Water is an initiative launched by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the U.S. Coast Guard, and partnering state and federal agencies.
During the weekend, boaters will be contacted with safety messages at boat ramps and on the water. “Our goal is to have no boating under the influence arrests and no alcohol-related accidents,” said Capt. Mike Fields, boating law administrator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “Operation Dry Water is a way to get the word out that alcohol intoxication and boating don’t mix.”
Fields said almost half of Kentucky’s boating fatalities last year were alcohol related. “Most people understand the hazards of boating while intoxicated,” he said. “We want people to enjoy boating with a clear head.”
Law enforcement officers will be conducting courtesy boat inspections during the weekend. Officers can answer questions about Kentucky’s boating laws and the safety equipment required on boats.
Impaired boaters, who represent a danger to everyone on the water, are of special concern to law enforcement officers. During last year’s Operation Dry Water event, an impaired boater in Kentucky registered a blood alcohol level of 0.30 percent after a breathalyzer test. “That was the highest blood alcohol reading of all arrests nationwide,” said Fields. “The reading was almost four times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.”
Sun, wind, noise, vibration and movement, which are common to the boating environment, when combined with alcohol intake, cause fatigue which impacts a boat operator's coordination, judgment and reaction time.
For more information on Operation Dry Water, visit their website at: www.operationdrywater.org.
Kentucky’s boating laws are detailed in the free brochure Kentucky Fishing and Boating Guide, or can be read online at the department’s website: www.fw.ky.gov.