RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — With the Fourth of July holiday approaching, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission wants you to stay safe on the water.
From July 2 through July 4, Wildlife law enforcement officers will take part in the nationwide campaign Operation Dry Water.
The goal is to “promote sobriety while boating and educate boaters about the dangers of boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” officials said in a release.
“Fourth of July weekend is historically one of the busiest boating weekends of the year in North Carolina. Wildlife Law Enforcement Officers will be patrolling the state’s waterways in an effort reduce the number of alcohol and drug related incidents and fatalities,” said Lt. Forrest Orr with the Wildlife Commission. “By participating in the nationwide Operation Dry Water campaign, we will be able to educate boaters on the dangers associated with boating while impaired. We want everyone to have a safe, enjoyable holiday, but if alcohol is involved, designate a sober operator to get everyone home safely.”
Last year, Wildlife officers issued 693 warnings, 440 citations and removed 55 people from the water who were boating under the influence,” officials said.
Also, anyone driving or operating a vessel “with a blood-alcohol concentration that meets or exceeds .08, or is substantially impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, is subject to arrest” in North Carolina, officials stated.
So far in 2022, there have been 39 boating incidents, and ten were deadly, according to officials.
“Wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket is the best way to be prepared should you be involved in a boating incident,” said Orr. “Not wearing a life vest is a contributing factor in many fatal incidents, including drowning of people who know how to swim. Last year in North Carolina, 16 boaters lost their lives due to not wearing a life jacket.”
And if you decide to take to the water after dark, officials said to practice caution and be aware and extra alert because of reduced visibility.
If you would like information on boating safety classes and information on boating in our state, click here.