LINCOLN – With families planning weekend get togethers at the lake, officials with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission want to remind all about the dangers of operating a boat under the influence.
According to a release from the Game and Parks, they’ll be joining the national effort to reduce the number of accidents and deaths related to boating under the influence (BUI). Officials will participate in Operation Dry Water Friday, July 3 – Sunday, July 5.
Operation Dry Water is a year-round BUI awareness and enforcement campaign but the effort will be heightened by Game and Parks’ Law Enforcement Division officers this weekend at waters across the state.
Alcohol use while boating is one of the leading factors in boater deaths. In Nebraska, it is unlawful to operate a motorboat with a blood alcohol level content of .08 percent or greater. Doing so constitutes BUI, which carries penalties such as vessel impoundment, fines, jail time and loss of boating privileges.
Game and Park officials encourage boaters to enjoy the boating season with friends and family in a safe and responsible way. Drinking alcohol while boating can have serious, even deadly consequences, and NGPC’s goal is to make sure everyone is enjoying their time on the water and staying safe.
The Commission also recommends everyone have all required boating safety equipment on board, including life jackets or U.S. Coast Guard-approved floatation devices, lights, fire extinguisher, horn, bailing bucket and an orange flag if pulling skiers and tubers.
Children age 12 and younger and anyone riding or operating a personal watercraft or being pulled on a towable must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Anyone operating a motorboat or personal watercraft must be at least 14 years old. Anyone born after December 31, 1985 must complete a boater safety course, which can be taken at OutdoorNebraska.gov/boatereducation. For more information on boating rules and requirements, read the 2020 Boating Guide at OutdoorNebraska.gov/guides.
Operation Dry Water is a joint program of Game and Parks, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard. For more information, visit OperationDryWater.org.