SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (WTOC) - Marine law enforcement officers in Georgia and nationwide will be on patrol during Operation Dry Water to crack down on impaired boaters.
Operation Dry Water kicks off Friday and runs through June 24. It's an annual campaign aimed at enforcing BUI laws and educating all boaters about the risks of operating a boat under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Operation Dry Water began in 2009 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.
So far this year, conservation rangers have made 63 arrests on state lakes and waterways, according to the DNR. There were 168 arrests in 2011.
Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver, WRD law enforcement, warns, "Alcohol can impair a boater's judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. Combined with the sun, wind, noise and motion of a boat and the fact that boating is not an activity you do every day, you can quickly run into a dangerous situation," said Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver, of the Wildlife Resources Division, in a statement.
It's against the law to drive a boat with a blood-alcohol level of .10 or higher in Georgia. Alcohol was a contributing factor 16 percent of boating fatalities nationwide, according to the DNR.