SOCIAL CIRCLE, GA – As the July 4th holiday approaches, Georgia Game Wardens will be focusing on keeping boaters safe by cracking down on boating under the influence. Across the state, they will be conducting heightened awareness and enforcement of boating under the influence (BUI) laws as part of the national Operation Dry Water campaign.
In partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators(NASBLA), DNR’s Law Enforcement Division is working to increase boater awareness of the hazards associated with BUI, and decrease the number of accidents and deaths attributed to impaired boating and other unsafe boating practices.
From June 30 – July 4, boaters will notice an increase in the numbers of officers on the water as DNR will have all their available Game Wardens working Georgia’s waterways. They will arrest and remove all impaired operators, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for boaters.
“Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal on all bodies of water and can lead to serious injuries and consequences,” stated DNR Director of Law Enforcement Colonel Eddie Henderson. “In Georgia it is illegal to operate a vessel with a BAC level of .08 or higher – the same as it is to operate a vehicle. If you are found to be impaired and operating a boat you will be on your way to jail.”
Additionally, DNR is partnering with a number of federal, state and private partners in an anti-drowning campaign, titled “SPLASH,” with the goal of reducing all water-related deaths in Georgia. The acronym highlights positive actions for water safety.
Supervision – always watch children.
Prevention – wear a life jacket.
Look before you leap – know the water depth.
Arms-length – keep small children close.
Swim lessons – take them.
Have a water safety plan.
More tips for staying safe on the water this summer:
- Boat sober. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths*. Alcohol and drugs use impairs a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.
- Wear your life jacket. 83% of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket.
- Take a boating safety education course. 77% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction, where instruction was known.