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Contact: Matt Johnson, 786-335-3679
Contact: Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
Contact: Mary Plumb, 305-242-7017
HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA – Biscayne and Everglades National Parks are teaming up to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities related to boating under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The campaign, called Operation Dry Water, will be held June 27-29, 2014. It is part of a national effort to help educate recreational boaters and increase awareness about the dangers of alcohol and drug use while boating.
"Biscayne National Park is a wonderful place to boat, fish, snorkel, sail and enjoy park resources in many different ways," said Superintendent Brian Carlstrom. "Park employees are working to protect these resources and keep the park safe and enjoyable for everyone."
Alcohol and drug use may impair a boater's judgment, balance, vision and reaction time, or increase fatigue. Such impairments intensify the dangers of operating a boat in remote park locations and being exposed to the extremes of the sun, wind, water and weather.
"We are dedicated to keeping boaters safe on our waters. Boating is a safe and enjoyable pastime when people stay alert and follow the rules," said acting Everglades National Park Superintendent Shawn Benge. "You will see our officers from Key Largo and Flamingo out on the water in Florida Bay, and from our Gulf Coast District in Everglades City, ensuring that everyone can enjoy a day of safe boating. They will be looking for boaters who are operating a vessel under the influence."
Increased law enforcement patrols and boater education efforts are part of the park campaign. The consequences for boating under the influence may include fines up to $5,000, jail terms as long as six months and the costs of restoring damaged resources and property.
Operation Dry Water is a national awareness and enforcement campaign focused on reducing the number of alcohol and drug related accidents and fatalities, and fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water. The campaign is coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard. For more information, visit www.operationdrywater.org.
For more information about Biscayne National Park, please visit the park website at www.nps.gov/bisc, or follow the park on Facebook at www.facebook.com/biscaynenps, or Twitter at www.twitter.com/biscaynenps.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.