The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

June 28, 2013

Take the pledge


— Everyone has heard of DUI, and the importance of being aware of those Driving Under the Influence.

But this weekend, a campaign called Operation Dry Water will target offenders who are BUI — Boating Under the Influence.

Operation Dry Water is a nationwide education and enforcement initiative launched by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.

There will be increased patrols out on the waters.

The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources plans to stretch the campaign well into next week, with Independence Day festivities in full effect.

The blood alcohol content level to be BUI and DUI is the same — .08 and above.

In 2012, WVDNR Natural Resources police officers investigated 25 reported boating accidents that included five fatalities.

According to Operation Dry Water, 17 percent of boating fatalities are a result of alcohol use, down from 19 percent since the launch of the initiative in 2009.

Last year, participating law enforcement agencies issued 9,685 safety warnings, 4,819 citations with a reported 337 BUI.

The highest BUI recorded during the campaign in 2012 was a .38, which happened in Michigan.

The likelihood of drowning by anyone onboard ramps up significantly with alcohol consumption. Drowning is the overwhelming cause of death associated with recreational aquatic activity, with alcohol detected in 30 percent to 70 percent of people who drown while boating.

Boaters are encouraged to take a pledge online, available at www.operationdrywater.org.

It reads:

Never drink and drive a boat

Never be intoxicated on a boat

Never be irresponsible

Never endanger myself or others

Never damage a boat

Never risk injury or death

Never boat under the influence

Operation Dry Water warns that “Persons found to be boating under the influence can expect to incur severe penalties. If a boat operator is BUI, the voyage may be terminated, the boat may be impounded and the operator may be arrested. Penalties vary by state, but can include fines, jail, loss of boating privileges and even loss of vehicle driving privileges.”

Our hope is that our readers and their families enjoy a fun and safe holiday week.

And that you’re around to celebrate many more Independence Days to come.