CLEARWATER, FL – The Safe Boating Campaign, a worldwide effort focused on responsible boating, reminds boaters to boat sober this Fourth of July. Boating under the influence, or BUI, is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
“The Fourth of July has unfortunately become known for drinking, boating, and deadly incidents,” said Peg Phillips, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council, a nonprofit dedicated to helping create a safe boating experience for all boaters and the lead organization of the Safe Boating Campaign. “Never boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs – this is a danger to the boat operator, passengers, and others enjoying the water.”
The side effects of alcohol or drug use, such as impaired judgment, reduced balance, and poor coordination, are magnified while boating, due to environmental conditions from the sun, wind, and boat motion. Impaired boaters can easily fall overboard, swim near the propeller, lean over the side, or stand up in small boats causing the boat to capsize.
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, a partner of the Safe Boating Campaign, in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard and law enforcement agencies nationwide, is coordinating the annual Operation Dry Water three-day weekend. This heightened BUI awareness and enforcement effort will be held from July 1 to July 3 in every U.S. state and territory.
The Safe Boating Campaign also encourages boaters this Fourth of July to check all equipment is present and working, share the details of their trip with someone trusted before leaving the dock, wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket, use an engine cut-off switch, watch the weather, and follow all navigation rules.
“Boating incidents can happen at any time, so it’s important to always be prepared,” continued Phillips. “Wear a life jacket and always boat sober.”
The Safe Boating Campaign is produced under a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund and administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. For more boating safety tips and to follow the campaign on social media, please visit www.safeboatingcampaign.com.
Yvonne Pentz, National Safe Boating Council, email@example.com, 440-670-1294