Charlotte County, FL – May 25, 2021

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.

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Marine Unit will have heightened awareness and enforcement on the waterways to ensure the safety of all throughout Memorial Day weekend. The intent of the increased law enforcement presence on the water is to promote boater safety, BUI enforcement and discourage careless boating. Alcohol use continues to be the leading contributing factor in recreational boating fatalities. Not only is this dangerous for the captain, but also every person aboard the vessel and surrounding area.

In Florida, a vessel operator is presumed to be under the influence if their blood- or breath-alcohol level is at or above .08.
Any person under 21 years of age who is found to have a breath-alcohol level of .02 or higher and operates or is in actual physical control of a vessel is in violation of Florida law.

During the 2019 Memorial Day Weekend enforcement, a boater was rescued after being having trouble swimming in the Boca Grande pass. He was rescued by CCSO Marine Patrol and transported to the hospital for further evaluation.

While honoring those all those who lost their lives while serving our country, it’s important to follow wake zones, manatee protection areas, and other boating regulations. Watercraft collisions are a threat to manatees in Florida and often happen when traveling at a high rate of speed especially in protected areas.

If you observe an injured manatee please contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline through one of these options:

  • Call 888-404-FWCC (3922)
  • Call #FWC or *FWC from your cell phone

Charlotte County Manatee protection zones can be located here.