NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — With summer in full swing, many boaters are taking advantage of the warm weather by setting sail.
But the United States Coast Guard is warning all boat drivers to be responsible while out on the water.
The Coast Guard is participating in “Operation Dry Water” – a national campaign that begins on the Fourth of July and ends July 7.
The campaign is designed to crack down on impaired boating.
According to the Coast Guard, alcohol use is the leading factor in fatal boating accidents. As part of the campaign, law enforcement crews will be on patrol ensuring boaters are safe on the water.
The Coast Guard will also be on the lookout for boaters using marijuana. Despite being legalized recreationally in several northeastern states, the drug is still federally illegal.
While out on the water, the Coast Guard enforces all federal laws, including those relating to the transport, use and possession of marijuana.
To ensure the safety of a boat’s passengers, Coast Guard crews may conduct boardings on recreational and commercial boats in international, federal and state waterways while on patrol.
In addition to the campaign, the Coast Guard is also reminding boaters to ensure there are enough life jackets on board for all passengers before leaving shore. They encourage checking the local forecast and water conditions to gauge whether or not it is safe to go out.