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Maine Marine Patrol hopes for 'dry' boating during Fourth of July weekend

As part of the national Operation Dry Water weekend, patrol officers will work diligently to prevent boating under the influence this weekend.

MAINE, USA — The Maine Marine Patrol will be on heavy duty during national Operation Dry Water weekend from July 2 to July 4, a news release issued by the Maine Department of Marine Resources states.

Patrol officers will be hitting the water to make sure no boaters are violating Maine’s boating under the influence laws, the release says. Officers will also be sharing safety information to ensure boaters stay safe during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

"Operating a boat with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is against the law in Maine," the release says. "BUI laws pertain to all vessels, from rowboats and kayaks to the largest ships."

According to the release, "Operation Dry Water is a national awareness and enforcement campaign coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators." It aims to prevent boaters from boating under the influence (BUI) of drugs or alcohol. 

In 2021, over 7,518 law enforcement officers participating in Operation Dry Water made 638 arrests of boaters who were under the influence, the release says.

“Marine Patrol Officers will be conducting patrols along the coast from Kittery to the Canadian border focused on boaters who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” Maine Marine Patrol Major Rob Beal said in the release.

The release says the U.S. Coast Guard announced that in 2021 "alcohol use was the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents in the U.S."

“Boating under the influence is a preventable crime,” Major Beal added in the release. “The Maine Marine Patrol strongly encourages boaters to stay safe by staying sober while boating.” 

The release warns that boaters can become impaired much more quickly on the water than on land due to environmental conditions such as the sun, wind, movement of the boat, and noise, which overall intensifies the effects of drugs and alcohol.

“We always take the opportunity to talk with a lot of boaters about the importance of boating sober and safely, and we will do the same this year,” Major Beal said.

To find more information regarding Maine's recreational boating safety tips, click here.

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