APD announces "Operation Dry Water" this weekend

June 27, 2017 - 2:41 pm

AUSTIN (KJCE) - In addition to their regular focus on driving under the influence, Austin Police and other law enforcemnet agencies will conduct Operation Dry Water this weekend - a national weekend of Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) detection and enforcement.

The initiative focuses on reducing the number of alcohol/drug-related accidents and fatalities and deterring alcohol and drug use on the water. Launched in 2009 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), in partnership with the United States Coast Guard, as well as local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, Operation Dry Water has been a highly successful effort to draw public attention to the hazards of BWI. Since the Operation began, the percentage of boating fatalities with alcohol named as a contributing factor has decreased from 19 to 16 percent in the United States.

APD will patrol area lakes, with the assistance of officers specially trained in intoxication detection, looking for people who are Boating While Intoxicated. A BWI charge carries the same punishment as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). It is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours.

Operation Dry Water on Lake Austin will run from 9 a.m. Friday morning until midnight Monday. 

In 2016, 538 local, state and federal agencies joined forces in every U.S. state and territory for the Operation Dry Water campaign. Law enforcement was out in force across the country keeping the waters safe by simultaneously identifying and removing hundreds of impaired boaters from the waterways and educating recreational boaters one on one.

Over the course of the Operation Dry Water weekend, 6,196 officers made 367 BUI arrests for both drugs and alcohol, issued 18,569 citations and safety warnings, made 55,141 vessel contacts, and contacted 131,054 boaters.

Since the inception of the Operation Dry Water Campaign in 2009, law enforcement officers have removed 2,520 BWI operators from the nation’s waterways and made contact with over 860,400 boaters during the annual three-day weekend. The campaign continues to make a significant impact on boater safety and spread the message of the danger of boating under the influence.

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