RALEIGH, N.C. (June 7, 2010) – North Carolina law enforcement agencies will again participate in Operation Dry Water, June 25-27, a national weekend of boating sobriety detection and enforcement aimed at reducing alcohol-related accidents and fatalities.
“Operating a recreational vessel while under the influence of an impairing substance or with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher is against the law,” said Capt. Chris Huebner, the state boating safety coordinator. “Penalties may include fines up to $1,000 and jail. The greater peril is an accident. More than 20 percent of boating-related fatalities are alcohol related.”
Operation Dry Water is organized by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard, with leadership for the North Carolina campaign by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and assisted by partner law enforcement agencies.
Wildlife officers are charged with enforcing the boating laws and regulations on the public waters of the state, and routinely stop vessels for safety checks or violations. The goal of boating regulations enforcement is always safety.
An ongoing Boat Safe, Boat Sober campaign aims to make North Carolina boaters aware of the dangers of intoxication on the water. Drinking, even at levels below legal intoxication, affects the skills necessary to operate any vessel, including:
- Peripheral vision and ability to focus
- Judgment and rational decision-making
- Balance and equilibrium
- Coordination and reaction time
During Operation Dry Water, wildlife officers also will remind vessel operators in North Carolina that they now need to be in compliance with the Boating Safety Education Law. As of May 1, 2010, the law requires anyone younger than 26 operating a vessel powered by a 10 horsepower or greater motor to have successfully completed an approved boating safety education course or otherwise be in compliance.
For more information on safe recreational boating in North Carolina, click here or call (919) 707-0031.