Beginning Friday, June 24th, Natural Resources Police, the Coast Guard and other maritime law enforcement agencies will participate in Operation Dry Water, a nationwide crackdown on alcohol- and drug-impaired boaters.
From Deep Creek Lake and the Patuxent River to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, officers will conduct saturation patrols looking for boaters whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit.
The goal of the three-day campaign – that combines messages about the dangers of boating under the influence and an increased police presence on the water – aims to drastically reduce the number of accidents and deaths due to impaired boating.
“Keeping the public safe is our number one priority,” said Maryland Natural Resources Superintendent Colonel Robert K. “Ken” Ziegler Jr. “Alcohol and drugs can turn a safe boater into a deadly menace. Maryland’s participation in Operation Dry Water makes it clear that we have no tolerance for alcohol- or drug-impaired boaters.”
During last year’s campaign, officers arrested nine people for impaired operating, issued 87 tickets for other boating violations and conducted 727 vessel safety checks.
The maximum penalty in Maryland for operating a vessel while impaired by alcohol is a $1,000 fine and a year in jail for the first offense.