Operation Dry Water to Start June 24
Posted: 06/22/2011
DES MOINES - A group of state, federal and local law enforcement agencies will partner again to focus enforcement of Iowa's boating while intoxicated law as part of the national Operation Dry Water campaign to draw public attention to the hazards of boating under the influence.

"We will again be conducting boating while intoxicated focused enforcement with increased patrols, conducting check points, administering breath tests and working to inform the public on the hazards involved on the waters across Iowa from June 24-26," said Susan Stocker, boating law administrator and education coordinator for the Iowa DNR.

"More than half of Iowa's boating fatalities involved alcohol and many of those victims were innocent bystanders," she said.

Iowa will have a new lower blood alcohol limit beginning July 1. The current level of .10 BAC will become .08 BAC, which is the same level for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

"The effects of alcohol can be intensified when combined with wind and wave action and an extended time spent in the sun. Operators may not think they are under the influence, but their judgment, reaction time, balance and vision indicate that they are," Stocker said. "The new lower limit will hopefully reduce the combined effects that alcohol and wave action have on boat operators."

In 2010, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and its partners contacted more than 250 vessels containing 1,100 boaters resulting in six BWI arrests and 85 citations or warnings as part of Operation Dry Water. The 2010 effort was conducted on the Mississippi River Pool 14, the Coralville Reservoir, in the Des Moines area at Big Creek, Saylorville Reservoir and the Des Moines River, and at Clear Lake. Events were planned for the Iowa Great Lakes and the Wapsipinicon River, but were reduced or cancelled due to a tornado in northwest Iowa and to high water on the Wapsipinicon.

The DNR has partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, and local sheriff's department as part of previous Operation Dry Water campaigns.

Top 4 bodies of water for BWI arrests in 2010

* Okoboji lakes chain
* Missouri River
* Saylorville Lake
* Mississippi River

Arrests, Fatalities, Accidents

2010

* 35 BWI arrests
* 3 out of 5 boating fatalities involved alcohol
* 10 of the 54 accidents reported involved alcohol

2009

* 31 BWI arrests
* 2 out of 3 fatalities involved alcohol
* 6 out of 40 accidents reported involved alcohol

2008

* 35 BWI arrests
* No fatalities
* 5 out of 38 accidents reported involved alcohol

2007

* 32 BWI arrests
* 5 out of 10 fatalities involved alcohol
* 17 of the 49 accidents reported involved alcohol

2006

* 46 BWI arrests
* 3 out of 5 fatalities involved alcohol
* 15 out of 63 accidents reported involved alcohol

2005

* 44 BWI arrests
* 4 out of 10 fatalities involved alcohol
* 14 of the 82 accidents reported involved alcohol

2004

* 26 BWI arrests
* 2 out of 4 fatalities involved alcohol
* 12 out of 50 accidents reported involved alcohol
>