Operation Dry Water enforcement to increase over holiday weekend

JACKSON, Tenn. — For many, the best way to spend the Fourth of July is on the water. But with more people and more boats, the risk of accidents on the water increase.

“When you congregate a lot of people onto the area like a lake over the holiday, you do see an increase in reckless behavior, reckless operation, people doing dangerous things, not following the boating rules and regulations of the water, and then that creates accidents,” said Amy Spencer, Outreach and Communications Coordinator for Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

Operation Dry Water is a national campaign coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

The campaign focuses on reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related incidents on the water from July 2 through July 4.

“We’ve had 15 fatalities so far this year,” Spencer said. “26 total injuries, 23 property damages, and 62 BUIs.”

If you do not follow the law, there are major consequences. Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating incidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

“You could be charged with a BUI, or you could kill someone in an accident, and then you’re going to be living with that for the rest of your life and the family is going to be living with that tragedy for the rest of their life,” said Spencer.

It is also important to remember to always have the correct amount of life jackets for every passenger, do not speed, and be aware of your surroundings.

“Remember that sun, wind, noise, vibration and rocking of the boat are all stressors common to the boating environment, and these stressors intensify the effects of alcohol and drugs and some medications,” Spencer said. “So we’re asking everyone to please avoid alcohol and drugs while they’re on the water this weekend. And remember the safest boat to be on is a drug and alcohol-free boat.”

Click here for more information about the campaign and how to boat safely this weekend.

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