N.P. County Marine Unit take part in Operation Dry Water


According to the Coast Guard, alcohol plays a role in over 300 boating accidents a year, on average across the United States and close to half of those accidents cause a fatality.

The Coast Guard, and The Association of State Boating Law Administrators are partnering up with local law enforcement agencies for a campaign called “Operation Dry Water” to help cut down on drinking and boating.

And our own Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office has joined in to help make our waterways a safer place.

The goal of “Operation Dry Water” is simple…

"The goal of the operation is to remove impaired boaters from the water,” said N.P. Co. Sheriff’s Office Corporal Patrick Dupea.

But they also want to create an awareness.

"Heightened awareness for boating under the influence and the effects of alcohol on the water,” said Corporal Dupea.

Corporal Patrick Dupea with the Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office is in charge of the Marine Unit.

"What they normally could drink on land and in the shade and in their own home, they get out in the sun and they can consume the same amount of alcohol and it has more of an effect on them, than it would normally,” said Corporal Dupea.

That is because when out on the water….

"On the water, in the direct sunlight, being dehydrated, has more of an effect on people's motor skills, than they anticipate,” said Corporal Dupea.

Being under the influence of alcohol impairs motor skills which increases the risks of crashes.

Corporal Dupea said, "You add water conditions, you add just your regular environmental conditions, and then you add alcohol to that and it just adds to the fire."

On top of the dangers it poses, you’re also facing the law.

"You're still arrested for it like a DUI, you can have your boating privileges suspended, and then your fines, and fees and court costs just like a normal DUI,” said Corporal Dupea.

The “Operation Dry Water” campaign starts June 30th and runs through the Fourth of July holiday, because it is one of the most common times of year that people drink while boating.

The Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit will be increasing patrols on the water.

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