Sober Boater Effort Keeps Ohio’s Waterways Safer

No boating-related fatalities during Operation Dry Water weekend

R-H staff

COLUMBUS — Ohio’s waters remained safe this weekend with no boating-related fatalities occurring during Operation Dry Water, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Alcohol use while boating is the leading factor in boater deaths nationwide.

“Alcohol is involved in about one of every four fatal boating-related accidents in Ohio, making it critical to always have a sober captain when boating,” said ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft Chief Mike Bailey.

Last weekend during Operation Dry Water, which is a nationwide crackdown initiative aimed at removing impaired boaters from public waterways, ODNR officers contacted 1,504 boaters on 530 vessels for various violations of Ohio watercraft and local laws.

The officers and their law enforcement partners issued five boating under the influence (BUI) violations. In Ohio, individuals driving a boat with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the state limit of .08 will be arrested for BUI and face other serious penalties, including fines, jail and loss of privileges to register and to operate boats.

Watercraft officers also issued 51 citations and 370 boating safety warnings. There were no boating-related fatalities in Ohio during the 2017 Operation Dry Water weekend.

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. Alcohol also increases fatigue. Alcohol use is dangerous for passengers as well. Intoxicated passengers can easily slip, fall overboard or suffer other life-threatening accidents.

While state natural resources officers and local marine patrols are always on the lookout for impaired boat operators, Operation Dry Water is an organized national effort that focuses greater awareness of the need for boaters to boat smart, boat sober and make a commitment to staying safe on the water.

The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft is responsible for managing Ohio’s 74 state parks and providing the finest outdoor recreational opportunities, including first-class boat services, facilities and law enforcement for users of Ohio’s waterways and public lands.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at

No boating-related fatalities during Operation Dry Water weekend

R-H staff