NORFOLK, Va. - Over the course of the Fourth of July weekend, Police are taking action to keep people from boating under the influence. Operation Dry Water kicks in Friday and lasts through July 1. It's part of a nationally coordinated effort to raise awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence and to reduce the numbers of accidents and deaths related to alcohol use on waterways. There will be extra presence to make sure those on the water stay safe.
"A lot of people refer to themselves as having a buzz but they're under the influence of alcohol. The blood alcohol content on land is the same on water," said Sgt. Brandon Woodruff with the Virginia Conservation Police of the Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Boating under the influence is illegal and those who are arrested could face up to a year in jail and lose their license to operate a boat.
Police said those who are planning to enjoy a drink or two on the water should designate someone who will stay sober to drive the boat, especially since the side effect of how alcohol affects the body is worse on water than on land. Boating stressors include the hot sun, wind, noise and movement from the water, which intensifies the effects of alcohol.
Last Fourth of July weekend, four boating under the influence arrests were made in the Hampton Roads area, which is more than the other three regions in Virginia combined.
Finally, Police said to help avoid mishaps wear a life jacket.
"Boats don't have seatbelts. If you strike something hard, you may end up in the water. It's the sudden surprise you're in the water or loss of consciousness that causes problems for people," said Sgt. Woodruff.