Marine News from the Great Lakes

ODNR Keeps Ohio's Waters Safer with Sober Boater Effort

Published: Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ohio’s waters remained safe this weekend as zero boating-related fatalities occurred during Operation Dry Water, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

“Alcohol is involved in about one of every four fatal boating-related accidents in Ohio, which is why it is important to always have a sober captain when you’re out on the water,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer.

Last weekend during Operation Dry Water, which is a nationwide crackdown initiative aimed at removing impaired boaters from public waterways, ODNR officers contacted 2,085 boaters on 638 vessels for various violations of Ohio watercraft and local laws. ODNR officers also issued 49 citations and 570 boating safety warnings.

The officers and their law enforcement partners issued six boating under the influence (BUI) violations. In Ohio, individuals driving a boat with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the state limit of .08 will be arrested for BUI and face other serious penalties, including fines, jail and loss of privileges to register and to operate boats.

Alcohol use while boating also is the leading factor in boater deaths nationwide. Alcohol can impair a boater's judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. Alcohol also increases fatigue. Alcohol use is dangerous for passengers as well since intoxicated passengers can easily slip, fall overboard or suffer other life-threatening accidents.

While state officers and local marine patrols are always on the lookout for impaired boat operators, Operation Dry Water is an organized national effort that focuses greater awareness of the need for boaters to boat smart, boat sober and make a commitment to staying safe on the water.

ODNR is responsible for boating safety, education and law enforcement on all waters of the state. This statewide area includes the nearshore area along 451 miles of the Ohio River, approximately one-third the entire surface area of Lake Erie, more than 605 inland lakes and more than 60,000 miles of inland streams, rivers and other waterways.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at




tags: Dept of Natural Resources, Events


Go back | Show other stories