Coast Guard to crackdown on drunk boating

Rachel Hardin
Rachel Hardin
LT JG Bradford Clark
LT JG Bradford Clark

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - After increasing casualties and boating accidents, the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies decided they needed to curb boating under the influence or BUI.

According to maritime enforcement specialist James Strempel, "Operation Dry Water" is a national crackdown on boating under the influence.

When accidents on the water rose three years ago, authorities established a no-tolerance weekend for drinking and driving. Annually, it falls on the last weekend before the Fourth of July holiday. Authorities want people to take it seriously.

"Boating under the influence is no different than driving under the influence," said Strempel. "It impairs your judgment, your vision, your sense of direction."

First time boater Rachel Hardin agrees and says it makes the water safer for everyone.

"You don't have people out there drinking and endangering the lives of other people," said Hardin.

The Coast Guard says mixing alcohol with boating only adds to the dangers lurking in the water.

"Usually after flooding or a lot of rainfall, you get logs or any type of debris coming from the banks," said LT JG Bradford Clark of the Coast Guard.

Clark said alcohol can affect your reaction time when you try to steer clear of debris. According to Strempel, debris is a big issue in the Ohio River.

In all, four agencies will be keeping an eye on area waterways this weekend.

"We're not out there to spoil anybody's time," Strempel said, "we just want everybody to act responsible."

last summer resulted in 322 BUI arrests nationwide.

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