NEW YORK — Long Island Coast Guard units and partner agencies increased their presence on the water to deter boating under the influence (BUI) in support of Operation Dry Water, June 28 to 30.
Operation Dry Water is an annual nationwide, interagency marine law-enforcement mission. Its aim is to reduce the number of alcohol-related accidents, injuries and deaths among recreational boaters by increasing the visibility of enforcement the weekend before Independence Day, a holiday known for drinking and boating.
Last year in New England states alone, alcohol or drug use was a contributing factor in 45 recreational boating accidents resulting in 26 fatalities and 30 injuries. Nationwide, alcohol continues to be the leading contributing factor in all fatal recreational boating accidents. Because of this high-risk behavior, states across the nation have increased enforcement on BUI laws. Operating a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher is against federal and most state laws. Boaters caught operating their vessel under the influence will have their voyage terminated and their vessel impounded. Additionally, penalties can include arrest, fines, loss of boating privileges and even loss of driving privileges.
"Ultimately we want mariners to have a good time when out on the water," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jovan F. Morales, boatswain's mate and boarding officer at Coast Guard Station Eaton’s Neck, N.Y. "One way to do this is to always make sure that there is someone on your boat that can drive without being under the influence of alcohol by planning for and having a designated vessel operator."