SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As part of a nationwide campaign to promote safe and sober boating, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Police officers will increase their patrols of the state’s waterways during the July 4 weekend.
Because the Fourth of July holiday is one of the busiest times of year for boating recreation in West Virginia, WVDNR Police are also reminding boaters to perform safety checks on their boats to make sure horns and lights are operational and that personal floatation devices are accessible and available for all passengers.
“A lot of people will be taking their boats out this weekend to celebrate our country’s independence and we just want to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves in a way that is safe and responsible,” said WVDNR Police Captain Warren Goodson.
During the weekend, WVDNR Police officers will be patrolling the state’s waters for boaters whose blood alcohol concentration meets or exceeds 0.08, the legal limit in West Virginia. The increased patrols and boating safety reminders are part of Operation Dry Water, an annual partnership between the West Virginia Natural Resources Police, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard to raise awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence and reduce the number of accidents and deaths attributed to impaired boating.
“As the skipper, it’s your responsibility to be sober and make sure everyone on board gets back to land safely,” Goodson said.
Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time and is illegal in every state and territory. Even some prescription medications can make operating a boat unsafe. For more information about boating under the influence, visit nasbla.org/operationdrywater.
WVDNR Police are also reminding members of the public that anyone born after Dec. 31, 1986 must complete a NASBLA-approved boater education class before they can legally operate a motorboat or personal watercraft on any water in West Virginia. To learn more about West Virginia’s boating regulations and boating safety program, visit WVdnr.gov/boater-education.