on Jul 03, 2013 08:18 AM • Views 3469

A wildlife officer congratulates a young boater for wearing his life vest during an Operation Dry Water patrol at Holden Beach.

Media Contact: Geoff Cantrell

RALEIGH, N.C. (July 3, 2013) — 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
  • Citations Issued:153
  • 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.