Operation Dry Water

Operation Dry Water is a national awareness and enforcement campaign focused on reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related boating accidents and fatalities. As part of the campaign, emphasis patrols are conducted annually around the Fourth of July - a holiday known for increased boating activities, use of alcohol, and an increase in the number of boating accidents and fatalities. The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) coordinates Operation Dry Water, in partnership with the Coast Guard, safety educators and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

help promote operation dry water

This year, Operation Dry Water is July 2-4. Help share the message of boating sober! Write a blog, post on social media, publish an article and more. A toolkit with free materials is available by visiting https://www.nasbla.org/operationdrywater/enforcement/campaign-resources. You will find talking points, graphics, social media posts, video and radio clips, template press releases, fact sheets and more. Just keep scrolling down the resource webpage to find a plethora of free resources.


In Washington state, it is illegal to use any substance that impairs a person’s ability to operate a boat. The law applies to all boats, including kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, rowboats and inflatable fishing rafts. Some key things to know: 

  • State law allows law enforcement officers to require people suspected of operating a boat while intoxicated to submit to a breath or blood test. 
  • Refusing to submit to a test is a civil infraction with a maximum fine of $2,050. 
  • The penalty for operating a boat under the influence is a gross misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 and 364 days in jail. 
  • Additionally, a Boating Under the Influence (BUI) citation is considered a prior offense if there are later convictions for driving under the influence (DUI).

You can learn more about BUI laws in Washington state and about the risks of boating under the influence by visiting boatsober.org.

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