Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens made 58 boating under the influence arrests and contacted some 30,000 recreational boaters over the July Fourth weekend.
Earlier, TPWD’s Law Enforcement division participated in Operation Dry Water June 27-29 as part of a nationally coordinated boating under the influence (BUI) awareness and enforcement campaign. Game wardens continued their enhanced patrol efforts through the holiday as boaters enjoyed area waterways.
Over the three-day Operation Dry Water weekend, game wardens made contact with 22,732 recreational boaters, issued 1,147 citations and safety warnings and made 17 BUI arrests in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol. During the July Fourth holiday, game wardens made contact with roughly 30,000 recreational boaters and arrested 58 operators for boating under the influence. In addition, game wardens filed 39 minor in possession of alcohol cases and 8 drug related offenses.
“TPWD participates in coordinated efforts like Operation Dry Water, along with hundreds of other agencies nationwide, in an effort to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities we see due to boaters consuming alcohol on the water,” says Asst. Commander Cody Jones, TPWD’s boating law administrator. “Our goal is to educate boaters as well as remove impaired operators from the water in order to keep all other boaters safe.”
Nationally, more than 550 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies from all 50 states and 6 U.S. territories participated in the 2014 Operation Dry Water effort. National results are still being collected and compiled, but in 2013, nationwide 6,219 law enforcement officers from 513 agencies and US Coast Guard units participated in Operation Dry Water. Officers made contact with 144,044 boaters, issues 17,159 citations and safety warning, and made 290 arrests for boating under the influence.
Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. Since 2009, the year Operation Dry Water launched, there has been a 37 percent drop in the number of boater deaths where alcohol use was the known contributing factor, according to the 2013 U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics.