Boat sober this July 4th


Every year, law enforcement agencies engage in a heightened enforcement weekend around the July 4th holiday as part of Operation Dry Water. The year-round awareness and enforcement campaign aims to reduce the number of alcohol- and drug-related accidents through increased recreational boater awareness.

“Boating is fabulous fun until—in a totally preventable moment—it isn’t,” said Craig Fraser, Chief Commander of United States Power Squadrons, America’s Boating Club. “Fortunately, we can all do our part to ensure this 4th of July only creates good memories for ourselves and those who are boating around us.”

America’s Boating Club encourages boat operators to plan their celebrations responsibly and to communicate these plans with everyone who will be aboard.

“Our members pledge to maintain our boats, operate them legally, and render assistance whenever possible,” Chief Fraser said. “We can only do that when everyone aboard stays sober. Those conversations may be uncomfortable, but they are important.”

Dangers of BUI

Alcohol use is the number one contributor to fatal boating accidents. The July 4th weekend—when the hot weather and festivities often involve water activities and alcohol—presents heightened risks that affect boat operators and passengers alike, including

  • impaired judgment, balance, vision, and reaction time
  • magnified impact of the sun, wind, noise, vibration, and motion stressors that are common to the boating environment
  • increased fatigue and likelihood for slips, falls overboard, and other dangerous accidents
  • increased susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion

The risks can be managed when everyone agrees to reserve alcohol consumption for when they are safely back from enjoying on-the-water activities.

America’s Boating Club offers educational videos and resources on boating under the influence. You can find them at America’s Boating Channel.

The Operation Dry Water three-day enforcement weekend runs from July 1-3. Learn more here.

United States Power Squadrons, America’s Boating Club, is dedicated to promoting safe and fun recreational boating through education, skill training, and civic service, while offering valuable social opportunities and benefits for its members.

United States Power Squadrons, America's Boating Club logo

The Ensign magazine is an official channel of United States Power Squadrons, America’s Boating Club, a volunteer organization whose members teach boating skills and best practices to help improve the safety of our nation’s waterways. Learn more.