ODNR: Boating sober keeps everyone safe on Ohio’s waterways

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is reminding the public that operating a boat under the influence is not only illegal, but extremely dangerous as well.

In Ohio, alcohol is involved in about one in every four fatal boating-related accidents.

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“Don’t risk the lives of  your passengers, other boaters, and yourself by boating under the influence. It’s just not worth is,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “Boating sober and wearing a life jacket are two sure ways for everyone to have a safe and fun day on the water.”

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This weekend, ODNR’s law enforcement officers will heighten their focus on educating boaters on sober boating and removing impaired boaters from waterways during the Operation Dry Water campaign, which has reduced boating fatalities due to alcohol impairment by 17 percent since 2009.

  • It's illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. Persons found to be boating under the influence can expect to incur severe penalties such as being arrested and having the boat impounded.
  • Alcohol can impair a boater's judgement, balance, vision, reaction time and increase fatigue. Common stressors, such as sun, wind, vibration and motion can intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications. It's dangerous for all passengers, who can easily slip, fall overboard or suffer other life-threatening injuries.

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