NOTTINGHAM, MD—The Independence Day holiday weekend means more boaters on the water, which can also bring an increase in boating incidents and fatalities.
From July 3-5, the Maryland Natural Resources Police will partner with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard in the Operation Dry Water campaign of awareness and enforcement to reduce boating under the influence.
During Operation Dry Water, Maryland boaters will notice an overall increase in police patrols on the water and at recreational boating checkpoints. The combined efforts of the participating law enforcement agencies will result in the removal of impaired operators from our waterways, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for boaters.
“Holiday weekends mean a lot of activity on the water and the Fourth of July weekend may be the busiest of them all,” Maryland Natural Resources Police Col. Adrian Baker said. “Public safety is our agency’s main priority. Please help us keep you and your family safe by being responsible while on the water.”
Boating under the influence is illegal, but is still the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths across the country. Alcohol impairment can lead to a delay in judgment, reaction time, balance, and vision.
In Maryland, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher, same as the law for operating a motor vehicle. For boaters, additional factors like wind, waves, heat, possible dehydration, and other stressors enhance the danger.
NRP reminds all boat operators to boat safe — always wear a life jacket — and boat sober — designate a captain and crew member to focus on operating the boat and making sure that everyone is safe.