COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Authorities are stepping up patrols of Ohio boating locations in an effort to reduce alcohol- and drug-related accidents and deaths.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is taking part in the national Operation Dry Water campaign by increasing patrols, checkpoints and breathalyzer tests on waterways across the state through the end of the day Sunday.
Officials hope to draw more awareness to the importance of staying sober while operating watercraft.
U.S. Coast Guard statistics show alcohol use was the primary contributing factor in 260 recreational-boating accidents, 91 deaths and 228 injuries across the country last year. It was a contributing factor in 20 recreational-boating deaths in Ohio the past five years, including four deaths in 2015.
Boaters whose blood alcohol content level exceeds Ohio’s limit of .08 can face jail and fines among other penalties.