Agency Participates in Nationwide Effort Following Local, High Profile Incidents
Game wardens with the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) will be targeting boaters operating under the influence (OUI) this weekend in waters across Nevada as part of a nationally coordinated enforcement effort dubbed "Operation Dry Water."
Operation Dry Water is an effort to coordinate increased patrols, investigations, and operating under the influence check points. Events will take place at waterways across the state, including Lakes Lahontan, Mead, Tahoe, Mohave, Topaz and South Fork Reservoir.
"Nevada has already seen one fatal accident that was alcohol related, in addition to a high profile OUI arrest in Southern Nevada, and we want to take a moment to remind boaters of the real dangers—and penalties—of OUI," said Capt. David Pfiffner, Nevada’s Boating Law Administrator. "We say it many times, drunken boating is dangerous. People who operate under the influence are just as likely to kill an innocent bystander as him or herself, so stay sober while on the water."
As part of the effort, NDOW will be moving extra officers from other parts of the state to focus on busy recreational waters, such as Lakes Mead and Mohave.
"We want to move our officers to the trouble spots," said Pfiffner. "We know where people are operating under the influence and we will be saturating those areas."
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, "stressors" common to the boating environment, intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs, and some prescription medications, according to Pfiffner. United States Coast Guard statistics from 2008 reveal that 17 percent of all boat accident fatalities were a direct result of alcohol or drug use.
Operation Dry Water, launched in 2009 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the United States Coast Guard, has been a highly successful effort to draw public attention to the hazards of OUI. Operation Dry Water is a joint program of NDOW, NASBLA and the U.S. Coast Guard. More information is available at www.operationdrywater.org.
The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, restores and manages fish and wildlife, and promotes fishing, hunting, and boating safety. NDOW’s wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen’s license and conservation fees and a federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear. Support wildlife and habitat conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing, or combination license. For more information, visit www.ndow.org.