Saturday, July 6, 2013 — RALEIGH, N.C. — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reported results from this past weekend’s Operation Dry Water, an annual nationwide education and enforcement campaign to alert boaters to the dangers of operating a boat while impaired (OWI).
“Arrests for operating while impaired in North Carolina were down this year from previous campaigns,” said Maj. Chris Huebner, the state boating law administrator for the Wildlife Commission.
“I think the majority of boaters understand the added risks and make the smart choices while on the water. With the upcoming July 4 holiday and the summer months, I hope that continues to be the case.”
The state results from Operation Dry Water in 2013:
Vessels Contacted: 2,361
Boaters Contacted: 6,041
Warnings issued: 326
Non-Boating Violations: 190
OWI arrests: 22
Highest Blood Alcohol Concentration: 0.22 (three times the legal limit)
Participating Officers: 171
The 2012 results included 6,152 boaters contacted and 32 OWI arrests. In North Carolina, OWI penalties include a maximum $1,000 fine and possible jail time.
Since the launch of Operation Dry Water in 2009 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard, the percentage of boating fatalities with alcohol listed as a contributing factor has decreased from 19 percent to 17 percent in the United States. Despite the decrease, OWI still accounts for a disproportional number of on-the-water deaths. In 2011, alcohol was a contributing factor in just 8 percent of boating accidents overall, but figured in 17 percent of boating fatalities.
For information on navigation rules and boating safety, as well as locations to boat and public access areas, go to www.ncwildlife.org/boating or call 919-707-0031.
About the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission
Since 1947, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has been dedicated to the conservation and sustainability of the state’s fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use, and public input. The Commission is the state regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws and provides programs and opportunities for wildlife-related educational, recreational and sporting activities. To learn more, visit www.ncwildlife.org.