on Jun 18, 2013 10:59 AM • Views 4275

Wildlife officers will be watchful during Operation Dry Water, June 28-30. Photo by Melissa McGaw.

Media Contact: Geoff Cantrell

RALEIGH, N.C. (June 18, 2013) The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will have law enforcement officers out in force June 28-30 in support of Operation Dry Water — an annual nationwide campaign to remind boaters that it is unsafe, as well as illegal, to operate a boat while impaired. In North Carolina, penalties include a maximum $1,000 fine and possible jail time.

“Drinking affects the skills necessary to operate a boat, including coordination, reaction time, balance and rational decision-making,” said Maj. Chris Huebner, the state’s boating safety coordinator and a wildlife officer with the Wildlife Commission. “We want everyone to enjoy his or her time on the water and do so safely. Having a designated driver, for boating and the drive home, is always a good idea.”

Operation Dry Water is incorporated into North Carolina’s multi-agency “On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign, with wildlife officers from the Wildlife Commission on waterways and troopers from the State Highway Patrol on the highways, working for public safety.

Organized by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, Operation Dry Water began in 2009 with the purpose of reducing boating fatalities involving alcohol. A 2012 U.S. Coast Guard study found that while alcohol contributed to 8 percent of boating accidents overall, it contributed to 17 percent — nearly a fifth — of all boating fatalities. Operation Dry Water received this year’s Horizon Award from the National Safe Boating Council for the campaign’s dedication to moving recreational boating safety to a new level.

For more information on safe recreational boating or to enroll in a free boating education course by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, go to www.ncwildlife.org  or call 919-707-0031.