The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, is enhancing enforcement efforts as part of a national crackdown on boating under the influence.
The annual three-day, heightened awareness and enforcement campaign, Operation Dry Water, focuses on deterring boaters from using alcohol or drugs.
From June 24-26, just prior to the July 4 holiday, law enforcement agencies nationwide will be out in force, looking for boaters who choose to boat under the influence and removing them from the water to drastically reduce the number of accidents and deaths due to impaired boating.
"Just as drinking and driving on the road is dangerous, so is drinking and boating," said Sheriff Tom Knight. "It's a beautiful time of year in Sarasota County and we're participating in Operation Dry Water so that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience on our waterways."
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In Florida it is illegal to operate a vessel with a BAC level of .08 or higher - the same as it is to operate a vehicle. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. During the national weekend of heightened awareness and high-visibility enforcement, boaters can expect to see more law enforcement presence and increased messaging about this dangerous and preventable crime.