In July 2021, Florida reported two deaths and 53 injuries from BUI-related crashes.

Get sober or get arrested, captain.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Law Enforcement Division will promote awareness and strengthen law enforcement this holiday weekend to prevent boating under the influence.

The improved provisions are part of the nationwide Operation Dry Water campaign this July 4 weekend. The 4th of July holiday is one of the busiest sailing holidays in the United States, including Florida. In July 2021, Florida reported two dead and 53 injured due to BUI-related accidents.

“Boating while impaired endangers not only yourself, but also your family, friends and other boaters on the water,” said Maj. Rob Concrete, responsible for the nautical and inland waterways section of the FWC. “FWC officers will actively patrol the entire state for intoxicated boaters. Our mission is to keep everyone who enjoys the state’s vast and diverse waterways safe. That’s why the FWC joins other states and agencies across the country in doing our part to keep boaters safe and prevent accidents related to boating under the influence.

In Florida, it is illegal to operate a ship with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, as is driving a vehicle. This applies to all bodies of water.

Alcohol is a major contributory factor to boating-related deaths and a leading contributor to accidents. Last year in Florida, 20% of fatal accidents were related to the consumption of alcohol or drugs, according to the FWC.

If someone decides to have alcohol on their ship, the FWC said it is important to designate an operator who does not drink alcohol and who will stay sober to ensure everyone gets home safely. The FWC encourages boaters to make the most of the boating season by boating sparingly, wearing a life jacket and taking a boating education course.

National Operation Dry Water Weekend will take place July 2-4. Operation Dry Water’s mission is to reduce the number of alcohol and drug-related incidents and deaths on the water.

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