National campaign focuses on boating under influence

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will again participate in Operation Dry Water as part of a nationally coordinated effort to increase knowledge about the dangers of boating under the influence. The goal is to reduce the number of accidents and deaths associated with alcohol and drug use on our waterways.

Operation Dry Water weekend, June 29-July 1, is the national weekend of heightened enforcement effort directed at boating under the influence laws and recreational boater outreach.

While informing and educating boaters about the hazards and negative outcomes associated with boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a year-round effort, on ODW weekend the Game and Fish Department’s game wardens will be focused on the water informing boaters about safe boating practices, and removing impaired operators from the water.

Last year during ODW weekend in North Dakota, wardens checked 3,905 boaters and 1,428 vessels, and issued 222 citations. Of that, 175 were boating citations.

Tips to staying safe on the water:

– Boat sober – alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. Alcohol and drugs use impairs a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.

– Wear your life jacket – 85 percent of drowning victims nationwide were not wearing a life jacket.

– Take a boating safety education course – 71 percent of deaths nationwide occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instruction.