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Thursday, June 26, 2014

DEM on the lookout for drunk boaters

Stepped up enforcement plan called “Operation Dry Water”

Accident Boat animated GIFPROVIDENCE - Safe boating patrols will be stepped up on June 27 to June 29 in a joint operation conducted by the Department of Environmental Management's Division of Law Enforcement. 

The effort is part of Operation Dry Water, a coordinated national weekend of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) detection and enforcement. It is aimed at reducing the number of alcohol-related and drug-related accidents and fatalities, and making recreational boaters aware of the dangers of alcohol and drug use on the water.

During Operation Dry Water, DEM marine law enforcement officers will be out in full force on Rhode Island waterways, searching for boat operators whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08 percent. The long weekend will feature increased enforcement patrols, administration of breathalyzer tests, and efforts to educate boaters. Impaired boaters can expect to be arrested or face other serious penalties. In Rhode Island, the consequences for BUI include fines, jail, and loss of boating or even driving privileges.

Boating under the influence continues to be a major problem nationwide. In fact, the leading factor in boater deaths is alcohol use while boating. By participating in Operation Dry Water, DEM is doing its part to keep recreational boaters safe and reduce the number of accidents and deaths related to alcohol or drug use.

"The Department encourages boaters to enjoy the boating season with friends and family, and to do so in a safe and responsible way," said Lieutenant Steven Criscione. "Drinking alcohol while on a boat can have serious, even deadly, consequences, and our goal is to make sure that everyone enjoys their time on the water and stays safe."

Operation Dry Water is a joint program of DEM, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the U.S. Coast Guard and other partner agencies. This nationwide education and enforcement initiative was launched in 2009. For more information on Operation Dry Water, please visit