KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said its “Operation Dry Water” on Tennessee waterways netted more than a few dozen boating under the influence arrests over the July 4th weekend. They also responded to several boating incidents across the state.
TWRA spokesperson Matt Cameron said Tuesday there was one fatal boating incident in Decatur County; and boating officers responded to two serious injury incidents as well as eight property damage incidents. A total of 25 BUI arrests were made.
The TWRA’s boating officers patrolled area waters to lookout for impaired boaters as part of the agency’s “Operation Dry Water” on the heels of a new Tennessee law that stiffens the penalties for boating under the influence that went into effect on July 1.
The law, known as “Nicholas’ Law,” makes a prior conviction for boating under the influence the same as a prior conviction for driving under the influence.
TWRA’s “Operation Dry Water” is a year-round campaign, but the agency heightened its enforcement for the July 4th holiday weekend. The efforts are aimed at reducing the number of alcohol or drug-related incidents and fatalities on the water while increasing recreational boating awareness and safety; with TWRA acknowledging that the July 4th weekend is known for drinking and boating as well as deadly accidents.
In July 2021, during Operation Dry Water, there were six serious injury incidents and a total of 21 BUI arrests were made. In July 2020, there were eight serious injury boating-related incidents and 11 BUI arrests made.