OCTOBER 04, 2023: The 2023 Operation Dry Water (ODW) award winners were recognized in-person on Thursday, September 21, at the awards ceremony during the NASBLA Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado. The ODW Officer of the Year, Regional Law Enforcement Award, and Media Award winners were honored for their hard work and dedication to boating under the influence prevention and the Operation Dry Water campaign. The Operation Dry Water Awards Program recognizes law enforcement officers and agencies that are making a positive impact on boating under the influence (BUI) enforcement and outreach within their communities.
The 2023 Operation Dry Water Officer of the Year is Corporal Jonathan Segars of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources - Law Enforcement Division. Over the Operation Dry Water weekend, Corporal Jonathan Segars made four arrests for boating under the influence over the 72-hour period. During the 2023 Operation Dry Water weekend, Corporal Segars organized a saturation patrol on Lake Lanier. A total of 19 game wardens and sheriff’s deputies participated in the patrol. Corporal Segars worked 39.5 hours of boating safety patrol time during the three days of Operation Dry Water. He issued 21 citations, four warnings, contacted 93 boaters, and performed 31 vessel stops. Corporal Segars’ boating safety efforts extend well beyond Operation Dry Water. During the last year, he issued 94 boating related citations and had 60 boating safety related violation assists. Corporal Segars also made 10 boating under the influence arrests and had five boating under the influence assists.
The 2023 Operation Dry Water Regional Law Enforcement awards recognize exceptional, regional-level achievements in boating under the influence detection, deterrence, and enforcement by an individual, a unit, bureau, division, or a combination of the preceding, for outstanding work directly related to the Operation Dry Water heightened awareness and enforcement weekend.
This year’s Operation Dry Water Northern Region Law Enforcement Award winner is the Indiana Department of Natural Resources – Law Enforcement Division, Conservation Officers. Over the course of the three-day heightened enforcement weekend, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources – Law Enforcement Division deployed 105 officers who made 11 boating under the influence arrests. In addition to this, Indiana DNR engaged media outlets all over the state with a statewide press release covering the campaign. This generated media interviews and news stories to be carried on all major news outlets.
The 2023 Southern Region Law Enforcement Award is presented to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. During the three-day Operation Dry Water weekend, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission deployed 161 officers who made 40 boating under the influence arrests. One of the Commission’s most notable efforts was their Operation Dry Water media kickoff event. This event brought several state and local agencies together to emphasize the importance of the Operation Dry Water campaign and its mission to reduce alcohol- and drug- related incidents on the water.
The Western Region Law Enforcement Award goes to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, Colorado River Station's Marine Enforcement Unit. Over the course of the Operation Dry Water weekend, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department deployed six officers who made 9 boating under the influence arrests. The Colorado River Station's Marine Enforcement. Unit is dedicated to the detection and deterrence of boating under the influence during Operation Dry Water and throughout the boating season.
The final award presented during the Annual Conference was the Operation Dry Water Media Award. This award recognizes an agency that used media outreach platforms to promote awareness of the Operation Dry Water campaign and to make a difference in recreational boating safety by educating boaters and raising awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence on our nation’s waterways. The 2023 Operation Dry Water Media Award winner is the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. This award was presented to Lisa Dugan. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has participated in and promoted the messaging of Operation Dry Water annually through multifaceted media campaigns. This year, notably boosting a far-reaching media campaign and exciting new partnerships. The Boat and Water Safety program within the division of Enforcement hosted a media event with a new partnership. Local representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving were present to promote their mission, in conjunction with the Operation Dry Water messaging. The media event was a collaboration of state, federal and county law enforcement partners. A multimedia campaign was also launched at the end of June to start promoting the sober boating message of Operation Dry Water. This included a multi-language radio flight that ran in four different languages, gas station TV advertising which was displayed at 86 gas stations across the state, out of home advertising consisting of both static and digital ads at 27 bars and restaurants, and social media messaging.
NASBLA would like to thank all of the award winners for their year-round passion for BUI detection and prevention. Our partners’ willingness to ensure that boaters are safe on the water is what makes this campaign successful. Thank you to all of the agencies and partners involved in this year’s Operation Dry Water campaign, we appreciate all that you do throughout the year to help put a stop to boating under the influence.
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.
Operation Dry Water was launched in 2009 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard. Operation Dry Water is produced under a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard and is a product of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.