Thinking About Having a Cold One on Your Boat This Weekend? Think Again

Jun 24, 2010, 18:22 ET from Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Operation Dry Water Boating Under the Influence Enforcement will be Underway

RICHMOND, Va., June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Virginia boaters, take note that this weekend, June 25-27, Conservation Police Officers with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) will be patrolling Virginia's waterways looking for boat operators with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. Operation Dry Water is a national effort coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

Boating under the influence is not only dangerous to watercraft operators, but also to their passengers and others who enjoy Virginia's waterways. Nationwide, the United States Coast Guard reports that more than 20 percent of boating-related fatalities are a result of alcohol, drugs, and some medications. These substances can slow reaction times, impair vision, and lead to boating accidents.

For the last five years, Virginia has an average of 128 recreational boating incidents annually, with an average of 17 (13%) being alcohol-related and an average of 3.6 alcohol-related fatalities. More information about boating incidents in Virginia can be found on the agency website

Operating a boat with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher is illegal in Virginia. Penalties may include fines, jail, impoundment of boats, and loss of boating privileges. Other consequences could include higher insurance rates and impacts on employment as a BUI conviction is a public record.

Boaters should never boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Designate an operator or leave the alcohol on shore.

In an effort to promote increased awareness of the dangers of boating while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, VDGIF asks Virginians to support programs and policies that help reduce the incidence of impaired boating, to promote safer and healthier behavior regarding the use of alcohol and other drugs and to provide opportunities for all to participate in and enjoy a safe recreational boating season this year.

For more information about Operation Dry Water and boating laws in Virginia visit

SOURCE Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries