Operation Dry Water brings law enforcement, education to N.C. waters

Published 6:50 pm Thursday, July 2, 2020

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From July 3–5, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s law enforcement division will focus on boating law compliance on North Carolina’s waterways and spread public awareness for “Operation Dry Water,” a national campaign that promotes sobriety while boating.

Over Independence Day weekend, enforcement officers will conduct sobriety checkpoints and promote public education on the dangers of operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
During last year’s campaign, law enforcement officers issued 572 warnings, 280 citations and removed 29 people who were boating under the influence from the state’s waterways. In North Carolina, a driver or vessel operator with a blood-alcohol concentration that meets or exceeds .08, or is substantially impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, is subject to arrest.

Drinking affects the skills necessary to operate a boat, including:

  • Peripheral vision and ability to focus;
  • Judgment and rational decision-making;
  • Balance and equilibrium;
  • Coordination and reaction time.

The Commission’s Preserve Your Life campaign reminds all boaters to put on a life jacket before boarding a vessel. Wearing a life jacket is a simple safety precaution that can prevent tragedy from happening in the event of an accident.

Boating at night typically increases during holiday weekends, so boaters should practice caution and be on high alert due to reduced visibility. Inland lighting rules are in effect and water skiing is prohibited between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise. Personal watercraft are prohibited on state waters between sunset and sunrise.

For more information about boating in North Carolina, visit ncwildlife.org/boating.