As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, recreational enthusiasts across Utah will gather on the state’s waterways and off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails. With this increase in public activity, the number of incidents and fatalities also tends to rise during this period.

In response, the Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation (DOR) will join the national “Operation Dry Water” campaign throughout the Fourth of July week. This initiative aims to heighten awareness and enforce safe practices among boaters and OHV operators, emphasizing sober operation.

“Boating and operating OHVs while impaired continue to pose significant problems on Utah’s waterways and trails, and the tragedies that result from incidents involving impaired operators are entirely preventable,” said Chief Steve Bullock, DOR Law Enforcement Chief in a release. “Our division is dedicated to ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone enjoying the outdoors this holiday weekend.”

Alcohol use is the leading known factor in recreational boater fatalities and incidents involving OHVs. As part of Operation Dry Water, rangers will focus on increasing public awareness about the hazards of operating boats and OHVs under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Boaters and OHV users can expect an increased presence of law enforcement patrols on waterways and trails.

Operating a vessel on water or an OHV on trails while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Utah. A blood alcohol content of 0.05% or higher while operating any motorized vehicle or vessel is against the law, as is operating under the influence of any drugs. The DOR reminds all boaters and OHV users to drive sober and wear appropriate safety gear, such as life jackets and helmets.

Operation Dry Water is a year-round campaign aimed at reducing alcohol and drug-related incidents and fatalities by raising awareness about the dangers of impaired operation. The expanded patrol operations during the Fourth of July weekend serve as a visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on waterways and OHV trails.

For more information about boating and OHV safety, visit recreation.utah.gov or operationdrywater.org.



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