LINCOLN – Over the next few days, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will participate in Operation Dry Water.
According to a release from the commission, this is part of a national effort to reduce the number of accidents and deaths related to boating under the influence.
While Operation Dry Water is a year-round BUI awareness and enforcement campaign, that effort will be heightened by Game and Parks’ Law Enforcement Division officers from Friday, July 2 – Sunday, July 4 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.
Alcohol use can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion. Alcohol also is dangerous for passengers as intoxication can cause slips, falls overboard and other dangerous accidents.
Game and Parks 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 Dec. 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 2021 Boating Guide at OutdoorNebraska.gov/guides.
Nationally, 620 agencies participated in Operation Dry Water in 2020, with 7,612 officers contacting 305,456 boaters. Those resulted in 28,659 safety warnings, 8,666 citations and 625 BUIs.
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.