Operation Dry Water kicks off Friday

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Davenport, IOWA (KWQC) - Many of us will be headed out on the water this weekend following the July 4th holiday but get ready to get stopped. The Iowa DNR will be out and they’re looking for drunk boaters. Operation Dry Water, a nationwide initiative to raise awareness surrounding drinking and boating, kicks off Friday, July 5th.

The goal of Operation Dry Water is to bring down the number of alcohol-related accidents and fatalities on the water. It’s no coincidence the annual event falls on July 4th weekend. With the DNR, it’s a weekend known for drinking, boating and deadly accidents. The awareness is in effect around the year, but this weekend their focus is on pulling impaired boaters off the water while also educating people on the risks of drinking and boating. They hope to change the cultural acceptance of drinking and boating- but also help boaters have fun safely.

They’ll hit the Le Claire boat ramp by Friday afternoon and they’ll be at different locations on the Mississippi all throughout the weekend. They’re hoping to stop 100% of boaters and those stops will begin as a standard safety check for all the basic items you should have on board.

Basic Safety Items…

• Lifejackets for all on board
• Fire extinguisher
• Type IV Flotation Device
• Horn/Whistle
• Navigation light (if boating at night)

Important Details shared by the DNR...

• The U.S. Coast Guard 2017 data shows that alcohol use is the primary cause of boating deaths.
• Operating a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher is illegal.
• Alcohol impairs a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time and it also increases fatigue and the effect of cold-water immersion.
• Sun, wind, noise, vibration, and motion (common stressors for boating) intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications.
• Impaired boating is even more dangerous than impaired driving because most boaters have less experience and confidence on the water than they do on the road.
• If you’re found guilty, you could lose boating privileges for 6 months to 1 year.
• The impacts of alcohol hit you twice as hard while on the water as it would otherwise.
• Impaired boating is even more dangerous than impaired driving because most boaters have less experience and confidence on the water than they do on the road.

This is not just happening here- this is actually a national collaboration between all 56 U.S. states and territories. Since the program began back in 2009, law enforcement officers have pulled over 3,500 people boating while drunk.