MONTPELIER — The Vermont Warden Service and Vermont State Police are asking Vermonters to boat responsibly this Fourth of July weekend, as part of the nationwide Operation Dry Water campaign to reduce alcohol and drug related boating injuries through education and more visible deterrence.
“The July Fourth holiday means time on the water for boaters in Vermont and across the United States,” said Game Warden Sergeant Jenna Reed. “And with an increased public presence on the water, data from the U.S. Coast Guard show an increase in the number of boating incidents and fatalities that take place during this time.”
From July 2 – 4, the Vermont Warden Service and State Police are partnering with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard to focus on educating boaters about safe boating practices, which includes sober boating. Operating a vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal on all bodies of water and can lead to serious injuries, death, property damage and legal consequences.
Over the July Fourth weekend, boaters will notice an increase in officer patrols on the water. This combined effort of the Warden Service and State Police aims to remove impaired operators from Vermont’s waterways, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone on the water.
“The tragedies that happen on our waterways because individuals choose to boat while impaired are preventable,” said Reed, adding that alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in recreational boater deaths nationally. “As law enforcement, it is our job to do everything we can to ensure the safety of our recreational boaters and paddlers.”