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TOPEKA, KAN. – Kansas Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT) law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for boaters under the influence during Operation Dry Water June 28-30. Operation Dry Water is part of a national effort to reduce accidents and fatalities related to boating under the influence (BUI) of drugs and alcohol and educate recreational boaters about the dangers of BUI.
KDWPT officers are responsible for patrolling the waters of Kansas and conducting boat accident investigations, boat safety inspections, BUI checks, safety programs, education classes and other boating related activities. During Operation Dry Water, officers will be out in force looking for boaters whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of 0.08. The weekend will include increased patrols, breathalyzer tests, life jacket checks and boater education. Impaired boaters can expect to be arrested or face other serious penalties. In Kansas, the consequences for BUI include fines, jail and loss of boating privileges. During the 2012 Operation Dry Water, eight arrests were made for BUI offenses.
“We are dedicated to keeping boaters safe on our waters. Boating is a safe and enjoyable pastime when people stay alert and follow the rules,” said Kansas Boating Law Administrator Maj. Dan Hesket. “Many factors contribute to the way alcohol affects a person on the water, such as the sun, wind, glare, dehydration and wave motion, causing a person to become intoxicated three times faster than on shore.”
BUI is a major problem across the nation. According to U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics 2012, alcohol is the primary contributing factor in recreational boating fatalities. Intoxicated boaters run a significantly increased risk of being involved in a fatal boating accident. During calendar year 2012, Kansas recorded 27 boat accidents, of which two resulted in a fatality, 12 resulted in injuries, and 13 involved only property damage. Two people were killed, 13 were injured and there was an estimated $112,321 in property damages.
Operation Dry Water 2013 is a joint program of KDWPT, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and the U.S. Coast Guard. For more information, visit www.operationdrywater.org. Information about Kansas boating regulations, registration, education, and requirements is at www.ksoutdoors.com – click on Boating.