AUGUSTA, Maine — For the first official weekend of summer, the Maine Warden Service and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators are beefing up their efforts to find boaters operating under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
“Operation Dry Water” takes place June 24-26 across the United States, as law enforcement agencies emphasize deterring impaired boaters and educating the public about the dangers associated with boating and operating under the influence (OUI). One in five boating fatalities nationwide result from boating OUIs, and in Maine nearly 15 percent of all boating incidents involve alcohol or drugs.
“There will be arrests this weekend, and some boaters will face the consequences of
boating under the influence,” said Lt. Adam Gormely of the Maine Warden Service. “We want recreational boaters to enjoy themselves, but there will be zero tolerance for operating under the influence.”
This weekend, as part of Operation Dry Water, the Maine Warden Service is increasing boating in Maine. Every Warden Service officer on duty will be working on the water as part of the effort.
A boating OUI conviction carries steep fines and imprisonment in Maine.
Operation Dry Water is a multi-agency, educational and enforcement initiative
launched by NASBLA in 2009 in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard. Annually it puts thousands of local, state and federal marine law enforcement officers on the water nationwide on the last weekend of June to give boating OUI enforcement high visibility during the peak boating season.
In 2010, all 50 states participated in Operation Dry Water. More than 40,000 boats and 66,000 boaters were contacted by law enforcement. More than 320 arrests were made for boating under the influence, while another 4,100 citations and 7,500 safety warnings were issued.