AUSTIN (KXAN) — This weekend, the Austin Police Department is taking part in Operation Dry Water, a national weekend of Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) detection and enforcement.
Austin police say the goal of the initiative is to reduce the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and deaths on the water. Operation Dry Water will take place from 9 a.m. Friday, June 24, through 12 a.m. Monday.
Launched in 2009, the department says the operation has been very successful. The percentage of boating fatalities caused by alcohol has decreased from 19 to 16 percent in the United States since the operation began.
APD will patrol area lakes looking for people who are boating while intoxicated. A BWI charge carries the same punishment as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), a class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours.
Last year, law enforcement nationwide made 278 BUI arrests for both drugs and alcohol, issued 17,942 citations and safety warnings and contacted 125,087 boaters.
Since 2009, police have removed 1,875 BWI operators from the nation’s waterways.
The operation is held in June just before the Fourth of July holiday, which is known for an increase in boaters on the water as well as an increase in alcohol use, leading to more boating accidents and deaths.
For more information visit the Operation Dry Water website.