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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The roadways in Northeast Florida won’t be the only place people will see a beefed-up police presence for the Fourth of July weekend. Law enforcement will also pay extra attention to the waterways as part of Operation Dry Water.
The St. Augustine Police Department, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, the Green Cove Springs Police Marine Unit and other law enforcement will be educating people about boating safety and looking for impaired boaters. With alcohol being the leading factor in boat-related deaths, the goal is to save lives.
Just like operating a car, it’s illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher.
Florida Fish and Wildlife says in 2020, there were nine deaths in the month of July and 53 people injured in BUI-related accidents.
FWC’s most recent data also show for all of 2021, 60 people died in a boating-related accident. That’s down from 79 in 2020.
People who plan to go boating this Fourth of July weekend are also advised to designate a boat operator who has not been drinking alcohol.
FWC also reminds boaters they need to have all the required safety equipment on their boat, including life jackets for every person on board, fire extinguishers and a sound-producing device.
Operation Dry Water officially starts Saturday and goes through the Fourth of July.