Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents will take part in Operation Dry Water from July 1 to July 3.
During the Operation Dry Water weekend, LDWF agents will be out in force patrolling state waterways for impaired boat operators. LDWF also made a special Operation Dry Water video about a family that lost a loved one from a fatal boating incident that involved an impaired boat operator.
Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.
Nationwide, alcohol is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating incidents causing 16 percent of all deaths on the water. Louisiana had 29 boating fatalities in 2022, with alcohol playing a role in five fatalities or 17 percent.
Last year during Operation Dry Water Weekend, LDWF Agents arrested 12 boaters for DWI on the water.
Impaired boaters caught this weekend can expect penalties to be severe. In Louisiana, a DWI on the water carries the same penalties and fines as on the road and includes jail time, fines and loss of driving and boat operating privileges.
Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver’s license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case. Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.
In Louisiana, a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle while impaired. First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
LDWF is also encouraging the use of personal flotation devices while on the water this holiday weekend.
Operation Dry Water was started in 2009 and is a joint program involving the LDWF, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard. More information is available at www.operationdrywater.org.