The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will be participating in Operation Dry Water this weekend as part of a nationally coordinated effort to raise awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence and reduce the number of accidents and deaths related to alcohol use on our waterways.
Operation Dry Water weekend is the national period of heightened enforcement of boating under the influence laws and recreational boater outreach. VDGIF will be reaching out as part of the yearlong Operation Dry Water campaign to educate boaters about the dangers and effects of boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“Our agency wants to encourage boaters to enjoy the upcoming recreational season in a safe and responsible way,” said Col. Ron Henry, Chief of Law Enforcement for the Virginia Conservation Police. “Drinking alcohol and operating a boat can have deadly consequences and is never a good idea. Our goal is to make sure everyone enjoys their time on the water in the safest manner possible.”
In Virginia, boaters whose blood alcohol content level exceeds the state limit of (.08) can be arrested for boating under the influence and face serious penalties upon conviction including, a fine of up to $2,500 and incarceration for a period up to 12 months. Additionally, the operator may lose his privilege to operate a boat for one year on a first offense and up to three years on a subsequent offense.
Participating agencies are asked to increase boating under the influence enforcement during the targeted weekend. This is done by focusing on a particular body of water, by increasing patrols in several locations, by conducting checkpoints in one or more locations, using already scheduled patrols for heightened awareness and emphasis, or through a combination of these activities.
Operation Dry Water is a joint program of the VDGIF the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the U.S. Coast Guard and other state agencies.