Operation Dry Water campaign sees 625 BUI arrests, record number of boater contacts


DECEMBER 10, 2020: In an effort to increase public awareness surrounding the dangers of boating under the influence (BUI) and remove impaired operators from our nation’s waterways, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard and hundreds of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, conducted the twelfth annual Operation Dry Water campaign July 3 – 5, 2020.
2020 ODW Weekend Results
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, officers were able to take advantage of the stark increase in boater participation this summer by making a record number of contacts with boaters. With each of these boater contacts, officers are able to connect with and educate recreational boaters about safe boating practices, prevent incidents related to boating under the influence and review safety precautions associated with the pandemic.

Over the course of the three-day weekend, 620 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies participated in the Operation Dry Water campaign. From these agencies, 7,612 law enforcement officers conducted patrols resulting in a total of 625 boating under the influence (BUI) arrests. The highest recorded blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was more than four times the legal limit at 0.368 percent. Officers also made contact with more than 305,000 boaters while patrolling our nation’s waterways.

While the enforcement efforts on the water were significant, NASBLA also worked intensively with the states, other law enforcement agencies, boating safety organizations, and the U.S. Coast Guard to develop and execute the Operation Dry Water marketing and media relations campaign. In 2020, Operation Dry Water successfully obtained local and national media coverage through various channels. From April 1 – November 30, 2020, Operation Dry Water generated more than 2.2 billion impressions with a publicity value of over $16 million. These results reflect the combined media coverage of the 2020 Operation Dry Water campaign through tracking of traditional news media outlets including print, internet and broadcast.

Operation Dry Water's heightened awareness and enforcement three-day weekend takes place annually around July fourth, a holiday unfortunately known for drinking and boating, and deadly incidents. Operation Dry Water serves as a reminder to the boating public that boating while impaired from the use of alcohol or drugs is extremely dangerous. Boating under the influence is illegal in all states and BUI laws are strictly enforced on our nation’s waterways.

The 2021 Operation Dry Water heightened awareness and enforcement weekend will take place nationwide, July 2 – 4, 2021.


The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) coordinates the Operation Dry Water campaign, in partnership with law enforcement agencies and outreach partners nationwide, through a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Operation Dry Water (ODW) is a year-round boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign with the mission of reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol use on the water. 

Click here to view the official press release.