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Operation Drywater to Target Drunk Boaters

The Maine Marine Patrol, Maine Warden Service and the U.S. Coast Guard will join forces on June 28th to again enforce “Operation Dry Water” on Maine’s lakes, rivers, streams and coastal waters. They’ll announce their plans at a news conference at 10:00 am on June 26th at the Municipal Boat Landing on the Kennebec River in Gardiner, Maine.

Primary target of enforcement will be to get drunken boaters off the waterways. They’ll also be focusing on education of all boaters and the risks they take if they operate a boat or other watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Maine, it is illegal to operate a boat with an alcohol level of .08% or more.

“All three agencies have a zero tolerance policy for boating under the influence,” said Marine Patrol Colonel Joseph Fessenden. “Impaired boaters can expect penalties and consequences to be severe, including fines and jail time.”

“Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time,” explained Warden Service Colonel Joel Wilkinson. “It can increase fatigue and the susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion are all stressors common to the boating environment that intensify the effects of alcohol and drugs.”

“Our goal is for all boaters to return home safe after every fun day on the water,” said Capt. Brian Gilda of the Coast Guard’s Northern New England region. “Staying sober and alert while operating a vessel is critical in order to preserve the safety and well-being of everyone on board.”

Alcohol is the number one factor in recreational boating fatalities. Last year Operation Dry Water resulted in 4,519 citations and 337 arrests nationwide. Here in Maine, there was one fatality blamed on boating under the influence last year.

Media Note:

If you would like to participate in a ride-along during Operation Dry Water with either the Maine Warden Service or Maine Marine Patrol, arrangements can be made during Wednesday’s press conference.

For more information:

Doug Rafferty……………287-5248
Jeff Nichols………………624-6569