As the July 4 holiday approaches, the U.S. Coast Guard and N.J. State Police will partner in what is being called “Operation Dry Water,” an effort to focus enforcement on drunk and impaired boating, the two agencies announced Friday.
“Over the next few days, Coast Guard boarding teams and NJSP law enforcement officers will focus on detecting impaired boaters and educating the public about the dangers of boating under the influence,” the Coast Guard’s public affairs detachment in Atlantic City said in a statement.
Alcohol use continues to be a leading contributing factor in recreational boating-related accidents, injuries and deaths, the statement went on to say.
“The dangers of boating under the influence are the same as those of driving a vehicle on the road,” said Lt. Cmdr. Carlos Crespo, Chief of Enforcement at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, which covers Ocean County. “Fifteen percent of all recreational boating deaths in 2016 involved alcohol. We want boaters to enjoy their day out, but we want to make sure it’s safe for them and others on the water.”
Being arrested and convicted of boating under the influence in New Jersey comes with the same penalties as if the offender was driving a car – including loss of driver’s license.
“If you are convicted of boating under the influence in New Jersey, not only do you lose your boating license, but you also lose your privilege to drive,” said Lt. Col. Jeff Mottley, Deputy Superintendent of Homeland Security. “If you plan on enjoying one of Jersey’s many waterways, wear a life jacket, boat responsibly, and have a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend.”