Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

June 15, 2023

Dan Keefe (518) 486-1868 |

New York State Joins Operation Dry Water to Stop Boating Under the Influence

The New York State Parks Marine Services Bureau is proud to coordinate New York's annual participation in the national Operation Dry Water campaign. This campaign involves law enforcement agencies statewide to educate boaters about the dangers of boating while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs and removing impaired boaters from the waterways. This year, Operation Dry Water's national weekend of amplified outreach and coordinated enforcement is July 1-3, 2023.

Alcohol use continues to be the leading factor in recreational boater deaths and a leading contributor in boating incidents. New York State Parks is asking boaters to enjoy this boating season and help keep everyone safe by not drinking alcohol while on the water or operating a boat after you have consumed alcohol. Use of both legal and illegal drugs also impairs judgment and reaction time and creates dangerous circumstances while boating.

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation Commissioner Eric Kulleseid said, "The mission of State Parks is to provide safe and enjoyable recreational opportunities for all New York State residents and visitors – including on our waterways. Boating while intoxicated by alcohol, marijuana or other drugs is illegal and jeopardizes the safety of everyone in and around the vessel. I urge those boating this weekend, and always, to designate a sober driver both on and off the water so that everyone can safely enjoy our beautiful lakes, rivers and parks."

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation Marine Services Bureau Director Paul Littman said, "We want boaters to have a safe and enjoyable experience on New York's waterways. Our goal is to educate boaters on the dangers of impaired boating and to remind them of other safe boating practices, such as enrolling in a boater education course and always wearing a life jacket. In this partnership with Operation Dry Water, we want both operators and passengers to remain sober and alert and understand the dangers of boating under the influence. We wish boaters a fun, safe and enjoyable summer while out on the water."

New York State Park Police Lieutenant Kory Barney said, "Boating under the influence of alcohol leads to fatal boating accidents throughout the nation. Operation Dry Water's heightened awareness weekend will focus on one of the busiest holiday weekends of the summer where increased boating traffic and alcohol are prevalent. New York State Park Police Marine Patrol Officers will conduct saturation and extended marine patrols to help deter and enforce a zero-tolerance approach to boating while intoxicated. We will be working with other State and local agencies to ensure all boaters are following the law to protect the boating public."

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law, just like driving under the influence, and it puts other boaters and bystanders at risk. The July 4th holiday is especially busy on New York's waterways and while I encourage people to get out and enjoy the outdoors with family and friends, safety is the top priority. Our DEC's Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) will join our local law enforcement partners again this year patrolling waterways and checking on boaters to ensure New Yorkers are following the law to protect themselves and others recreating in and around the water. I'm hopeful these Officers encounter zero BUIs."

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli said, "Boating and drinking do not mix. In fact, operating a boat while under the influence alcohol or drugs can be just as deadly as operating a motor vehicle while impaired, and it makes our waterways unsafe for everyone. We want boaters to enjoy New York's beautiful lakes and waterways throughout the boating season, but we urge them to do so responsibly and safely."

New York also continues to phase in Brianna's Law, which requires all operators of motorized watercraft to complete a state-approved boating safety course. The law currently requires all motorboat operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1983, to have a boating safety certificate. Beginning in 2025, the law will be fully phased in, and a boating safety certificate will be required of all operators of motorized watercraft, regardless of age. Failure to comply carries a potential fine of between $100 to $250. Boaters can find a safe boating course by visiting The New York State Parks boating webpage.

For more information about boating under the influence, visit Operation Dry Water is coordinated nationally by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard. Follow the campaign on social media #OperationDryWater #OpDryWater #ODW23

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by more than 79 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.