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Operation Dry Water in full effect 4th of July Weekend

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 4:39 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -

Whether you’re at the beach or on the lake this holiday weekend, state troopers have a program that will be keeping everyone safe on the water.

Operation Dry Water will be in full effect this holiday weekend, as family and friends will be out on the waterways and state troopers will be making sure no one is boating under the influence.

As the 4th of July holiday marks as one of the busiest times on the waterways, a decade-long plan that takes place every Independence Day weekend will be increasing awareness of boating under the influence.

A national annual program that spotlights the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol. Nationally BUI is the leading contributor to fatalities on the water so it impacts a lot of lives,” Michael Weathers, Chief of Enforcement for the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division said.

84 percent of fatalities on the water resulted from no life jacket being used.>

“In 2019 there were 69 deaths on Georgia’s waterways so far this year we’ve had 31 Georgian’s die from either a boat crashes or drownings in the state of Georgia. I would argue that most if not all were avoidable,” Colonel Thomas Barnard, Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Chief said.

Law enforcement agencies in Alabama and Georgia will be working together to enforce all boating laws at Lake Eufaula.

“The field officer, the trooper, he knows what to look for. Just erratic operation of the vessel, excessive speed, careless operation. things that a sober person probably wouldn’t do, like driving a vehicle. There’s certain things that tip off a officer about impaired operation of a vehicle, those apply to water as well,” Steve Thompson, Chief of Marine Patrol Division for Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said.

The goal - zero alcohol related boating fatalities.

Wearing a life jacket and having a designated operator can be the difference between that.

“Boating, getting out on the water is a recreational experience and for most of us the consumption of alcohol with recreational activities is normal. The problem with it is on the water, there’s fewer people to come to your aide and your surrounded by something that can claim your life,” Weathers said.

The purpose of Operation Dry Water is to reduce the number of alcohol and drug incidents and fatalities.

ALEA, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries are the agencies involved in Operation Dry Water.

Copyright 2020 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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