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AZGFD running Operation Dry Water for Fourth of July weekend

(U.S. Forest Service Photo)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department is hoping to limit the amount of drug- and alcohol-related accidents on the water this holiday weekend with stepped up enforcement.

As part of Operation Dry Water, AZGFD and partner agencies will be ramping up patrols across Arizona’s lakes this Fourth of July weekend with the focus on boating safety, the department said in a press release Thursday.

“The number one priority is to create a safe environment for everyone who is out enjoying Arizona’s waterways,” Danny Rodriguez, watercraft law administrator, said.

“If alcohol is being consumed on your boat, always designate a sober operator. It’s no different from driving a car on the highway; the operator is responsible for everyone onboard the boat.”

Last year, authorities stopped 2,966 boaters and made 12 arrests for operating watercraft while under the influence. They also wrote 156 citations, the AZGFD said.

In addition, officers may also give warnings and write citations for other issues, including operation, fire extinguisher and life jacket violations.

Operation Dry Water was first launched in 2009 National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in partnership with the United States Coast Guard.

It has been credited with removing 4,000 impaired boaters nationwide, the AZGFD said.

“Anything that helps to prevent fatalities and injuries in Arizona is a valuable investment of our time and resources,” Rodriguez said in the release.

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