NORWALK, Conn. -- With theJuly 4 holiday approaching and more people spending time on the water, the Norwalk Police Marine Unit is cracking down on people boating under the influence as part of the national Operation Dry Water campaign.
The Norwalk Police Department is working in partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators to increase boater awareness of the hazards of boating under the influence, and to decrease the number of accidents and deaths attributed to impaired boating and other unsafe boating practices.
From Friday, June 30 to Sunday, July 2, officers will be looking for impaired boaters as part of Operation Dry Water. Boaters will notice an increase in the number of officers on the water and at recreational boating checkpoints. Officers will remove impaired operators in order to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for boaters this season.
"As a part of the community ourselves, we want to ensure that recreational boaters, paddlers, and anyone enjoying our waters have a safe place to spend their time, " said Lt. Terry Blake.
“Alcohol impairs judgment and reaction time on the water, even more than a car because of the added stressors of sun, heat, wind, and noise on a boat. Choosing to consume alcohol while boating puts everyone at risk, including passengers and people in the water. Our goal is to remove anyone choosing to operate a vessel impaired and to keep everyone else safe.”
Norwalk Police offered several tips on staying safe on the water this summer:
- Boat sober. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths, according to the U.S. Coast guard. Alcohol and other drugs impair a boater's judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.
- Wear your life jacket. Eighty-five percent of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket.
- Take a boating safety education course. Seventy-one percent of deaths occurred on boats where operators did not take boating safety instruction.
Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal on all bodies of water. In Connecticut, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a BAC of .08 or higher, the same as it is to operate a vehicle. Police said that if you are found to be impaired or operating a boat, you will be arrested.
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