(ATLANTIC) Operation Dry Water is underway.
Operation Dry Water is a national campaign to address boating and drinking. The campaign began today and runs through Sunday, June 30th.
Brian Smith, State Conservation Officer for the Iowa DNR, said, “Like anything this time of year, you add alcohol. But especially with boating… the waves, the sun, the rocking of the boat, the vibration from the engine; research has shown that actually simulates intoxication on its own. Now you add alcohol to the situation and it essentially compounds the problem.”
The DNR is partnering with other law enforcement agencies to increase patrols on busy water bodies. In addition to their usual safety inspections, they will be focusing on people who are under the influence of alcohol.
Smith said the legal blood alcohol level limits are the same as what applies to driving a vehicle. And, he said it is illegal to operate any vessel while under the influence.
“One may not think about it, but that includes kayaks, canoes, and things like that,” said Smith. “I hear folks talking about tubing and floating the river… that boating while intoxicated applies on those non-powered vessels also.”
It is also illegal to drink hard alcohol in a public place.
“If you’re floating the river, of course I would encourage you to wait until you are off the river and sitting around the grill to enjoy your beer or wine or whatever it may be, but if you insist that you have to have that while you’re on the water you are restricted to beer and wine,” said Smith. “You can’t have your Bloody Mary, you can’t have your Vodka, Whiskey or Tequila. Those are illegal to even be there.”
In 2012, 70 percent of all boating fatalities in Iowa involved alcohol.