Wildlife Resources’ Conservation Police release numbers from Operation Dry Water over holiday weekend

Local News

DWR Conservation Police K9 Bailey was on patrol on the Rappahannock River during the 2021 Fourth of July holiday weekend. (Photo: Courtesy Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources)

(WFXR) — The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) released information around Operation Dry Water over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The Wildlife Resources’ Conservation Police Officers (CPO) spent the weekend out on the water looking for boaters who were under the influence and who did not have the proper safety equipment on their boats.

According to the department, 98 CPOs patrolled 41 bodies of water over the long holiday weekend, conducting 94 patrols that put them in contact with 770 boats. Here are the results:

  • Five boat operators arrested for Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
  • 219 boating safety law warnings
  • 120 boating safety citations

CPOs also responded to seven boating accidents, two of which were fatal.

“As a law enforcement organization, we strive to promote safe boating practices and encourage compliance through outreach and education. As alcohol is a significant contributing factor to serious boating accidents, it is critical for folks to plan ahead and designate a sober operator so everyone is able to enjoy themselves and get off the water safely,” said Maj. Ryan Shuler, Deputy Chief of Law Enforcement for DWR.

According to Virginia law, boaters who have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level that exceeds the state limit of .08 can be arrested for a BUI and face serious penalties upon conviction, including a fine up to $2,500 and incarceration for a period up to 12 months. Also, boaters can lose their privilege to operate a boat for one year on a first offense and up to three years for subsequent offenses.

IF you see someone who is operating a boat recklessly, you are asked to report any behavior. You can text DWRTIP plus your tip to 847411, contact law enforcement at (800) 237-5712, or send an email to Wildcrime@dwr.virginia.gov.

More information on boating safety and other requirements can be found on the Virginia DWR website.

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