FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and law enforcement participated in the June 27-29 nationwide “Operation Dry Water.”
The operation was about enforcing and educating boaters about the dangers of boating under the influence, or BUI. Other local agencies that participated included the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
The program put thousands of officers on the water to give high visibility of BUI enforcement before the Fourth of July.
The holiday is known for drinking and boating.
The initiative focused on reducing accidents and fatalities related to BUIs.
“We would rather them stay sober while boating or designate a non-drinking operator,” said Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver, DNR law enforcement division assistant director.
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, NASBLA, in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard launched the operation in 2009.
“We want people to enjoy boating on our waterways, but we want them to do it safely,” Weaver said.
So far this year, rangers have made 75 BUI arrests.
In 2013, there were a total of 86 arrests related to BUI. Officers also educated boaters on the new Georgia boating law.
This new boater education law requires any person born on or after Jan. 1, 1998 that operates any motorized vessel on Georgia to have completed a boat education course. The course must be approved by the NASBLA.
The course is offered in different formats. The formats include in a classroom setting, online and home study.
The agencies were also educating about the dangers of alcohol and water safety.
So far this year Georgia waters have had 15 drownings.
Lake Lanier has had eight of those.