LAUGHLIN — It’s all hands on deck this Fourth of July weekend as game wardens from the Nevada Department of Wildlife, along with law enforcement agencies from throughout the Tri-state, will be targeting boaters operating under the influence as part of Operation Dry Water.

“Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time and is consistently the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths,” said Nevada Game Warden Capt. Brian Bowles, Nevada’s boating law administrator. “Our job is the safety of everyone on the water, so if you’re putting people in danger by drinking and boating this weekend the odds are you’re going to meet one of our game wardens.”

NDOW will have officers on every major body of water across the state, and other law enforcement agencies are adding extra officers to many waterways in other parts of the state. In Southern Nevada, the National Park Service will be working with NDOW at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Operation Dry Water is a nationally coordinated heightened awareness and enforcement campaign, focused on deterring boaters from boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The campaign is an effort to coordinate increased patrols, investigations and operating under the influence check points across the country.

“We want people out on the water enjoying themselves with their families, but we also want to make sure everyone gets home safely. That is why we ask you to save the drinking until you get back to the shore,” said Bowles.

Boating already comes with environmental stressors such as the glare and heat of the sun, motion of the vessel caused by the wind and the waves and the noise and vibration of the engine. These stressors cause a person to become tired or fatigued much quicker than on land. 

“Combine that with the dehydration that comes from being out in the sun all day and that alcohol is going to affect you a lot more than you realize,” Bowles said.

For more information on Operation Dry Water, visit operationdrywater.org. A list of participating of agencies by state can be found at http://www.operationdrywater.org/agencies.

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