As the July 4th weekend approaches, the Maine Warden Service is advising boaters to never operate your boats under the influence.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said alcohol is the leading contributing factor in boater deaths and accidents while boating (the source for this data is from the 2019 U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics).

The Maine Warden Service and its partners are reaching out to boaters with “Operation Dry Water” to help educate people about the serious consequences of boating under the influence. The campaign is a national enforcement of awareness with a focus on safe boating.

You’ll see more of the Maine Warden Service on the water this weekend from Friday, July 2 to Sunday, July 4th. The increased presence is to maintain a more visible deterrent against unsafe boating practices such as operating under the influence. The department’s aim is to reduce alcohol and drug related incidents, injuries and fatalities. said the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The Maine Warden service reminds you that it is not only unsafe, but boating under the influence (BUI) is illegal. Operating a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher is against Maine law. Being under the influence of drugs is also illegal. Make sure you check with your primary care doctor if you take prescription medication that can affect you. The Warden Service says a boat’s rocking and movement, the sun, wind and noises can be stressors that may intensify alcohol use, drug use and taking medications.

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Always keep in mind as you practice safe boating that passengers can be put in danger also. Wardens said they can go overboard, slip and hurt themselves or face other injuries that can be life-threatening.

The Maine Warden service says to be safe and have a great holiday weekend.

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