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TWRA: Operation dry water returns for Independence Day holiday period

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) participates in Operation Dry Water (ODW), a year-round boating under the influence (BUI) and enforcement campaign. ODW’s heightened awareness and enforcement annually takes place around the July 4th holiday.

The July 4th holiday means an increase in boater activity, and the TWRA will be on heightened alert for boating under the influence infractions. Over the course of the July 4th holiday period, law enforcement officers will also be working to increase public awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, for both operators and passengers. Boaters will notice an overall increase in officer patrols on the water. The combined efforts of the participating law enforcement agencies will result in the removal of impaired operators from the state’s waterways, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for boaters.

“Boating under the influence is a 100 percent  preventable crime that will not be tolerated by wildlife officers” said Lt. Col. Matt Majors of TWRA’s Boating and Law Enforcement Division. “It is very selfish and irresponsible to endanger your life or the safety of others by consuming alcohol or drugs and operating a boat in Tennessee.”

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To support the enforcement and education initiative, the TWRA is partnering with the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Operation Dry Water was started by the NASBLA in 2009 and has been a highly successful campaign drawing public attention to the dangers of BUI.

Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. Sun, wind, noise, vibration, and motion intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs, and some medications. Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 percent or higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating a motor vehicle. Penalties may include fines, jail, boat impoundment and the loss of boat driving privileges.

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