Boating under the influence is always against the law, but police will be cracking down on it this weekend.
Operation Dry Water is being conducted Friday through Sunday, July 1, according to a press release from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
As part of the operation, there will be a larger police force on Virginia’s waterways in an effort to enforce boating under the influence (BUI) laws.
The VDGIF, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other state agencies are joining forces to conduct the operation.
“Providing a safe environment for all to enjoy the public waters of Virginia is a top priority for Virginia’s Conservation Police Officers (CPOs),” said Major Scott Naff, law enforcement assistant chief of operations for the VDGIF. “We ask that if boaters want to include alcohol as part of their weekend that they designate an operator before they get on the water. Our CPOs are highly trained in detecting impaired operators and if they are encountered, they will be arrested and removed from the water to prevent accidents and to save lives.”
Alcohol is the leading contributing factor to boating deaths nationwide, the department said. Operation Dry Water is part of a nationwide effort to raise awareness of responsible boating and safety laws.
Additionally, environmental factors boaters face, including sun, wind, noise and the boat’s swaying, can make alcohol impairment set in more quickly.
As with driving, boat operators whose blood alcohol content exceeds .08 percent can be arrested. Fines for BUI include up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,500.
First-time offenders may lose their boating privileges for up to a year.
Reckless or impaired boaters can be reported by calling 800-237-5712 or emailing Wildcrime@dgif.virginia.gov.