NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — Operation Dry Water is about to get under way. Boaters should not be surprised to see a US Coast Guard crew or police boat pull up beside them as the Fourth of July holiday weekend approaches.
State and local police are joining forces with the Coast Guard to educate boaters.
“Alcohol is one of the most leading causes to boating accidents,” said Rashad Lockhart who is with US Coast Guard Station New London.
Some of those accidents are tragic. A South Windsor woman was killed when her sailboat was hit by a boat which spun out of control after the owner fell overboard on the Connecticut River. He was drunk. That was July 2007 and now ten years later, it serves as a sobering reminder of the worst that can happen if people boat under the influence.
There are also other consequences.
“They could be subject to termination of their voyage,” said Lockhart. “They could be subject to fines, seizures, or arrests… of the person in their vessel.”
He just sailed from Block Island to Groton Friday morning. He has one rule on board his boat Bolero.
“No alcohol while you’re underway,” said Cohen.
Rashad Lockhart says he is constantly asked if you can drink alcohol on a boat. You can, but the operator cannot have a blood alcohol level higher than .08 and it’s best not to even come close to that. Even a drunk passenger can be a major hazard or distraction.
“People need to know that it’s never a good idea to drive a boat and drink at all because it impairs your reaction time if you need to stop or move or do anything,” said Lockhart.
Crews are out this weekend but enforcement is expected to be beefed up between June 30th and July 2nd for Operation Dry Water.