April 19, 2024

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Many boaters will be on waterways in Ohio for the July Fourth weekend and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is hoping they will be safe and sober while boating.

The ODNR is joining Operation Dry Water with other law enforcement agencies around the country to promote safe and sober boating for the weekend of July 1-3. The national campaign encourages boaters to be aware of the dangers of boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol — the leading cause of injuries and fatalities on waterways.
“Alcohol, drugs, and boating are a bad combination that put everyone at risk,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “People in Ohio can celebrate summer and the upcoming holiday safely by doing three things: boating sober, wearing a life jacket, and following the rules of the water.”
Operation Dry Water (ODW) is a national boating under the influence awareness campaign from the National Safe Boating Council.  It encourages boaters to be aware of the dangers of alcohol and boating. Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is the leading contributing factor of injuries and fatalities on the nation’s waterways.
Intoxicated passengers also face a higher risk of slipping, falling into the water, and other life-threatening incidents. Some simple ways you can practice responsible boating include wearing a life jacket, holding your party responsible, and knowing Ohio’s boating laws.
Last year, 85 officers participated in Operation Dry Water in Ohio. The increased patrols led to four BUI arrests, 37 boating citations, and 447 safety warnings. Nationally in 2022, law enforcement officers across the nation removed 794 impaired operators from the nation’s waterways during the Operation Dry Water weekend. 
Boaters can learn more about boating under the influence by visiting operationdrywater.org. Operation Dry Water is coordinated nationally by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.