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South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks conducts Operation Dry Water to stop boating under the influence

July 1, 2020

South Dakota – The July 4th holiday means time on the water for boaters across the United States. With the increase in boater activity on the water, there is also an increase in the number of boating incidents and fatalities that take place during this time. From July 3 – 5, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP), in partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard, will be participating in the national Operation Dry Water heightened awareness and enforcement weekend.

GFP will be on heightened alert for boating under the influence infractions. Over the course of the July 4th holiday, law enforcement officers will also be working to increase public awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, for both operators and passengers. Boaters will notice an overall increase in officer patrols on the water and at recreational boating checkpoints. The combined efforts of the participating law enforcement agencies will result in the removal of impaired operators from our nations waterways, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for boaters.

“Each year, our state suffers boating incidents and tragedies that could have been avoided if it weren’t for the presence of drugs or alcohol. Our job is to protect those in the communities we serve and to ensure that recreational boaters, paddlers and anyone who visits our waters is able to enjoy their time with family and friends safely,” says Joe Keeton, law enforcement specialist for GFP. “South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is joining all 56 states and U.S. territories to do our part in keeping boaters safe and preventing incidents caused by boating under the influence.”

Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs is equally dangerous for the boat operator and for the boat passenger. Operating a vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal on all bodies of water and can lead to serious injuries, death and legal consequences. In South Dakota, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks reminds boaters to always boat sober and to wear a life jacket when on the water.

Operation Dry Water is a year-round boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign with the mission of reducing the number of alcohol and drug related accidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water.


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