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The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be participating in Operation Dry Water, July 3-5. Operation Dry Water is a weekend of education and enforcement about the dangers of impaired boating throughout the state.

The July 4th holiday means an increase in boater activity on the water and there is also an increase in the number on incidents during this time. The TWRA is teaming with the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). Operation Dry Water was started by the NASBLA in 2009. It has been a highly successful campaign drawing public attention to the dangers of boating under the influence.

“We want everyone to enjoy time on the water safely and our enforcement officers will be performing saturation patrols near high visibility areas, checkpoints, and utilizing our resources to assist in identifying dangerous operation/impaired operators, said Cpt. Matt Majors, TWRA Boating Investigator. “We want to emphasize how dangerous impaired operation is, and how it is a contributing factor in recreational boating injury/death on Tennessee waters.”

Along with the use of life jackets and other safety practices, officers want boaters to be aware of the effects and ramifications of alcohol use. The TWRA will be intensifying efforts to detect and apprehend boat operators who are operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

 In 2019 during Operation Dry Water, there was one boating-related fatality which occurred on Normandy Lake and nine boating under the influence (BUI) arrests made across Tennessee. 

Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 percent or higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating a motor vehicle. Penalties may include fines, jail, boat impoundment and the loss of boat driving privileges.

Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications.

For more information on Operation Dry Water, visit www.operationdrywater.org.

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