16-45-CWS | June 23, 2016
BILOXI, Miss. – Marine Patrol officers with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources will participate in Operation Dry Water, a national campaign to promote awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence.
Local law enforcement agencies taking part in this national program include MDMR, sheriff’s offices in Harrison, Hancock and Jackson counties, D’Iberville Police Department, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and the Coast Guard.
From June 24-26, law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels will focus on people violating boating-under-the-influence laws. They will educate boaters about the dangers of using drugs and alcohol while operating a boat. They also will remove from the water those who choose to boat while impaired.
“We want residents and tourists to enjoy the waterways along the Mississippi Coast,” said Keith Davis, chief of MDMR’s Marine Patrol Office. “But we want them to do so responsibly, and we want them to know the dangers of boating under the influence.”
The national campaign was begun by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and the goal is to heighten awareness before the busy July Fourth weekend.
In 2015, 582 agencies participated, including 6,605 officers. Over three days, these officers made 278 BUI arrests for drugs and alcohol and issued 17,942 citations and safety warnings. Officers made contact with 57,402 vessels and 125,087 boaters.
On the Coast in 2015, law enforcement made no BUI arrests but did issue 12 boat-and-water safety citations. They stopped 114 vessels and made 733 boater contacts.
“Every year, there are accidents, injuries and sometimes deaths because someone made the decision to operate a boat after drinking alcohol or taking drugs,” Davis said. “We want to educate people about these dangers, and this campaign helps us do that.”
The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving marine interests of the state by managing all marine life, public trust wetlands, adjacent uplands and waterfront areas to provide for the optimal commercial,recreational, educational and economic uses of these resources consistent with environmental concerns and social changes. Visit the DMR online at dmr.ms.gov.