FWC warning against boating under the influence this holiday weekend

Published: July 3, 2022 7:08 AM EDT
Updated: July 3, 2022 8:09 AM EDT

Many boaters are taking to the water for the holiday weekend, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants to ensure you’re staying safe.

FWC will be out on patrol as part of their Operation Dry Water. An initiative to ensure boaters are driving sober because drunk driving doesn’t just happen on the road.

FWC says they want everybody to have fun, but is asking that you don’t get drunk and drive the boat around.

If you do plan on drinking, designate a sober operator. Not just for the safety of yourself and everybody else, but because you don’t want to get in an accident on the water and destroy your boat.

FWC officers and other agencies will be patrolling the waters of Southwest Florida in force to ensure the safety of all boaters.

“We don’t want to make an arrest, but I would much rather make an arrest than make a notification of death to a family friend or family member,” said FWC Public Information Officer Adam Brown. “If they’re operating too fast and a slow speed zone, maybe they’re operating recklessly. That gives us enough of a reason to go ahead and speak to them.”

In Florida, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher, the same as operating a vehicle.

Last year in Florida, 20% of fatal accidents were related to alcohol or drug use. In 2021, local FWC agents investigated more than 50 boating accidents in July.

If you do get pulled over, you’ll have to go through a vessel safety inspection. Similar to a car, boat drivers will be required to turn over their registration.