‘Operation Dry Water’ aims at boater safety for upcoming holiday weekend

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The upcoming 4th of July holiday weekend has local law enforcement voicing concerns about water safety and the dangers of mixing alcohol and heat. One way is with the 13th annual “Operation Dry Water.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will have extra law enforcement out on the Mountain State’s rivers and lakes this coming weekend, so if you have a boat – and you’re headed out for the weekend -you’ve been warned.

The 2020 boating season saw 18 boating incidents, one of them fatal, and three alcohol-related crashes. West Virginia natural resources officers say we can do better.

“We’re always termed ‘oh there’s the fun police’ they want to ruin my good time, no we don’t want to we want to make sure that you’re having a good time but doing it safely,” says Lt. Warren Goodson with the WV DNR.

Gary ‘Gig’ Robinson, with the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration says that safety and heat don’t mix well. “Heat is the number one weather-related reason for hospitalizations, sickness and death. So while it’s important to stay hydrated we’re not talking about alcoholic beverages here.”

Robinson’s point is especially important since heat stroke and intoxication mimic the same behavior. Robinson goes on to say, “such as loss of coordination, slurred speech so we just want to make sure that if alcohol is part of your event or your plans, that fine if you’re legal to consume it that perfectly acceptable, but just be safe.”

And just like you should make sure you have a designated driver on the roads, the same applies to boating. “As a skipper, as a captain of that boat, you owe it to those people onboard your vessel on your motorboat to maintain sobriety,” says Lt. Goodson.

During last year’s operation dry water, the West Virginia DNR says there were 55 boat owners who were cited and a total of 210 warnings issued.

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