June 14, 2011
MADISON -- The thrill of gliding across open water while steering a boat loaded with family and friends on a summer day is one of those make-a-memory afternoons remembered for years.
Unless you're drunk.
"Wisconsin waters are more fun, and a lot safer, with a clear head," says Conservation Warden Todd Schaller, also the DNR Section Chief of Recreation Enforcement and Education. "The start of the summer boating season is a good time to remind everyone who enjoys serving at the helm to remember vision, balance and a clear mind are important to the safety of their boat mates as well as everyone else on the water."
As a gentle reminder, DNR wardens will join other area authorities in a national public education/enforcement campaign called Operation Dry Water the weekend of June 24 - 26 on Wisconsin lakes and rivers. Boaters will see more officers on duty sharing information about the dangers of operating under the influence of alcohol while also arresting those undermining public safety on the water by operating while legally intoxicated.
Started in 2009 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, Operation Dry Water seeks to heighten water enthusiasts' awareness about the dangers of boating while intoxicated with extra patrols during the public education and enforcement weekend.
Boating under the influence is a primary contributing factor in nearly 1 in 5 boating fatalities nationwide, according to the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
"We want recreational boaters to be safe and enjoy themselves. That means not boating under the influence. It's just too dangerous," Schaller says.
Boaters found operating a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher will have their excursion ended.
"Staying sober is vital to staying -- and playing -- safe."
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Todd Schaller, DNR Section Chief of Recreation Enforcement and Education, Todd.Schaller@wisconsin.gov; 608-267-2774 or Joanne Haas, Public Affairs, Bureau of Enforcement and Science, email@example.com; 608-267-0798.