WVDNR Officers Participate In Operation Dry Water 2013

28 June 2013
By Kelsey Pape, Marion and Taylor County Reporter

TAYLOR COUNTY - Soaking up the sun, taking out the boat, and splashing in the water at Tygart Lake are summertime traditions for a lot of people.

"Most of what I do if I went out on the water is I'd either fish or I'd go swimming, maybe even tubing too," said Tyler Upton, Grafton Resident. "I would go here, I would go to Cheat Lake in Morgantown. It would basically be an all day thing."

But sometimes having too much fun, comes with consequences, especially when alcohol is involved.

"There's stressors involved when you're boating. You have wind, sun, vibration from the boat, the glare off the water. Those are all stressors," said Sergeant Bob Waybright, Division of Natural Resources. "If you are under the influence of alcohol, they are magnified."

Operation Dry Water is a nationwide initiative that aims to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities related to boating under the influence.

"Our main thing is for it to be safe for everybody whether you're under the influence or not," Sgt. Waybright said. "If you're under the influence obviously you're not only endangering yourself, but somebody else."

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will be participating in the program throughout the weekend.

"Anything that would lead us to believe, or an odor of alcohol or drugs, that would lead us to believe they are impaired in any way to lead us to conduct our sobriety tests," Sgt. Waybright said.

Drinking while boating is more common than you may think.

"Most people maintain themselves. Some people do tend to get a little reckless. We especially see it when they pull in to get gas," Upton said.

The DNR said the key to a safe boating experience is having a designated driver.

"It's one of those things we know people enjoy to do it," Sgt. Waybright said. "It's one of those things they enjoy. Our thing is just to educate them and if necessary, we will enforce the law on them."

Officers will be looking for boaters whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08.

Impaired boaters will be arrested or face other serious penalties.