Operation Dry Water is a national campaign to prevent boating accidents resulting from boating under the influence. As part of Operation Dry Water, the Coast Guard and partner agencies will have an increased presence on the water over the Fourth of July weekend. As of June 26, 2020, fatal boating accidents in the Northeast have doubled compared to this time last year. The coast guard has seen a nationwide increase of over 19% and alcohol continues to be a common factor in these accidents.
Petty Officer Erik Dahl said, “The same laws apply on water that does on land. The legal limit is .08 and we are here to enforce that as well.”
According to Petty Officer Dahl, boaters should never operate a vessel or paddle craft under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Dahl said, “If we feel that they are under the influence or see signs of them being under the influence we will run them through a very similar set of FST or field sobriety tests like local cops will.”
Operation Dry Water will run from July 3rd through the 5th to ensure that there is a quick response in case of an emergency.
“We have a couple of plans in place to work with our local agencies throughout the lake on both sides for contingency to work with them.”
Lake Champlain’s water level has been extremely low this season. According to Petty Officer Dahl, the surface is just over 95 feet above sea level. That is about two feet lower than usual. This can make boating tricky at times.
“I would caution people trying to cut corners, be cognizant of where they are going, and know where they are going. And look ahead to see what reefs or rocks could be out there”, said Dahl.
The Coast Guard also wants to remind everyone to have a safe and fun holiday weekend. And if you were out on the waterfront Friday afternoon or even in the lake, you might have seen Champ the Lake Monster getting a ride from the Coast Guard.