SPD to crack down on boaters under the influence with Operation Dry Water

SPD to crack down on boaters under the influence with Operation Dry Water
Siesta Key residents looking to clean up the Grand Canal. (Source: WWSB)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Sarasota Police Department Members will be cracking down on those who operate boats under the influence.

The July 4th holiday is a big day for boaters in the Suncoast. Marine Patrol Officers will increase their patrols on the water to educate and enforce boating under the influence laws as part of the Operation Dry Water national campaign.

From July 3 through July 5, 2020, the Sarasota Police Department along with law enforcement nationwide will be looking for impaired boaters as part of Operation Dry Water weekend.  Boaters will notice an increase in the numbers of officers on the water.  This effort will result in the removal of impaired operators, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for boaters.

Tips to staying safe on the water this summer:

  • Boat sober.  Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 19% of deaths according to U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics 2018.
  • Wear your life jacket.  84% of people who drowned in a recreational boating accident were not wearing a life jacket.  Always wear a life jacket!
  • Take a boating safety education course.  74% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction, where instruction was known.

Operating a boat with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is against federal law and most state laws.  Impairment can be even more dangerous for boaters than for drivers, since most boaters have less experience and confidence operating a boat than they do driving a car.

Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is illegal on all bodies of water and can lead to serious injuries and consequences. 

In Florida, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a BAC level of .08 or higher – the same as it is to operate a vehicle.  If you are found to be impaired and operating a boat, you will be arrested.

Copyright 2020 WWSB. All rights reserved.