The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will again participate in Operation Dry Water as part of a nationally coordinated effort to increase knowledge about the dangers of boating under the influence. The goal is to reduce the number of accidents and deaths associated with alcohol and drug use on our waterways.
Operation Dry Water weekend, June 30-July 2, is the national weekend of heightened enforcement effort directed at boating under the influence laws and recreational boater outreach.
While informing and educating boaters about the hazards and negative outcomes associated with boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a year-round effort, on ODW weekend the Game and Fish Department’s game wardens will be focused on the water informing boaters about safe boating practices, and removing impaired operators from the water.
“Alcohol impairs judgment and reaction time on the water just as it does when driving a car, even more so because of the added stressors of sun, heat, wind, noise and the vibrations of the boat,” said Jackie Lundstrom, the Game and Fish Department’s enforcement division operations supervisor. “Everyone wants to have a great summer on the water, and to do that you’ve got to stay safe and stay sober while underway.”
Tips to staying safe on the water:
· Boat sober. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. Alcohol and drugs use impairs a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.
· Wear your life jacket. 85 percent of drowning victims nationwide were not wearing a life jacket.
· Take a boating safety education course. 71 percent of deaths nationwide occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instruction.