June 24-26 are awareness days; operations underway year-round
PRATT — Marine law enforcement officers from local, state, and federal boating agencies — including the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) — will be out in force June 24-26 for Operation Dry Water (ODW), an annual campaign focused on the detection and enforcement of boating under the influence (BUI). A secondary objective is to raise awareness among all boaters that it is unsafe as well as illegal to operate a boat under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
More than 17 percent of boating fatalities result from alcohol use, and KDWP has gotten tougher in recent years in enforcing laws against this high-risk behavior. Operating a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher is against Kansas state law. Boaters caught operating under the influence can find their voyage terminated and their vessel impounded. Additionally, penalties can include arrest, fines, and loss of boating privileges.
The effort is timed to give BUI enforcement high visibility before the Fourth of July, perhaps the busiest recreational boating weekend of summer. A new battery of testing standards will, for the first time, allow marine patrol officers to test boaters in a seated position and apply a percentage of probability that the subject is impaired at .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or higher.