With stiff breezes, potentially heavy seas and small craft advisories expected for parts of this weekend across Lake Michigan, the Coast Guard is urging mariners to use extra caution before heading out on the water.
Boaters also can expect to see increased Coast Guard law enforcement this holiday weekend as part of Operation Dry Water, an awareness and enforcement campaign focused on reducing the number of alcohol- and drug-related incidents and fatalities on the water. The Coast Guard — alongside partners in state, local and tribal law enforcement, recreational boating safety advocates and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators — team up each year over the July 4 weekend to spread awareness and prevent tragedies related to boating under the influence.
Alcohol use continues to be the leading contributing factor in recreational boating fatalities. Since the commencement of the Operation Dry Water campaign in 2009, law enforcement officers across the nation have removed over 4,700 impaired operators from our nations waterways, preventing dangerous and potentially catastrophic consequences. In 2020, 620 agencies from every state and territory took part, boarding 305,466 boats and making 625 arrests for boating under the influence. Persons found to be boating while intoxicated can incur severe penalties, including arrest, vessel impoundment, fines, jail time and loss of boating privileges.
So in order to stay safer on the water and celebrate our nation’s independence this holiday weekend:
•File a float plan — make sure someone knows where you’re going and when you’ll be back
•Always wear your Coast Guard-approved life jacket
•Keep a sharp eye on the weather.