Press releases are posted on as a free community service.

State Park Peace Officers and K-9 Rex on boat patrol. | Credit: Courtesy

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California State Parks’ Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is urging all boaters to boat sober this coming Fourth of July holiday weekend. DBW and local law enforcement agencies will be participating in Operation Dry Water from July 4-6, 2024, a nationwide initiative to reduce boating under the influence (BUI) and to promote safe boating practices.

“We want everyone to enjoy our beautiful California waterways this holiday weekend, but safety must come first,” said DBW Deputy Director Ramona Fernandez. “Boating under the influence is not only illegal but also extremely dangerous. Operation Dry Water aims to remind boaters of the importance of staying sober while on the water.”

During the Operation Dry Water weekend, boaters can expect:

  • Increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints on waterways.
  • Outreach and education efforts, including safety demonstrations and informational materials.
  • Collaboration with local marinas, boating clubs, and community organizations to spread the message of sober boating.

Launched in 2009 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard and local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, Operation Dry Water has drawn public attention to the dangers of boating under the influence (BUI) of alcohol and drugs. According to U.S. Coast Guard 2023 Recreational Boating Statistics, alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 17% of deaths. The goal of the Operation Dry Water campaign is to educate boaters about the dangers of alcohol and drug use while operating a vessel to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities that occur as a result of BUI.

In California, it is against the law to operate a boat or water ski with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. Officers may also arrest boaters with a BAC of less than 0.08 percent if conditions are deemed unsafe. BUI convictions can result in up to six months in jail and/or fines of up to $1,000. Two convictions within seven years could add a jail term of up to one year. Boaters caught operating under the influence may also have their voyage terminated and their vessel impounded.

This year’s Operation Dry Water California participants include:

California State Parks

Auburn State Recreation Area (SRA), El Dorado and Placer counties

Millerton Lake SRA, Fresno County

Lake Perris SRA, Riverside County

San Luis Reservoir SRA, Merced County

Silverwood Lake SRA, San Bernardino County

Sierra/Lake Tahoe Station, El Dorado County

Ocotillo Wells District, San Diego County

City Police Departments

South Lake Tahoe

County Sheriff Departments

CalaverasMaderaSan JoaquinTuolumne
Contra CostaNapaShastaYolo
Los AngelesSan BernardinoTehama

Harbor Patrols

Santa Barbara

U.S. Coast Guard Stations/ Sectors

BlackfinLos Angeles/Long Beach
Bodega BayMorro Bay
Channel IslandsRio Vista
Golden GateSan Diego

A map of participating agencies with their contact information can be found at:

Tips for Safe Boating:

  • Wear a Life Jacket: Life jackets save lives. Make sure everyone on board is wearing a properly fitted, US Coast Guard-approved life jacket that is appropriate for the intended boating activity.
  • Take a Boating Safety Course and get your California Boater Card: Educate yourself on boating laws and best practices by taking a safe boating course before you head out on the water. California law requires boaters 60 and younger to carry a California Boater Card. Please visit for information about the law, a list of approved courses (including a free course), and how to apply for your card.
  • Be prepared: Check weather conditions and file a float plan.
  • Carry the Proper Safety Equipment: Ensure your boat is equipped with the necessary safety gear, such as an approved fire extinguisher and sound signaling device.
  • Help Keep Our Waterways Clean: Implement clean and green boating practices such as always carrying oil absorbents on board and bringing everything back that you took out on the water including food, garbage, and fishing line.
Get News in Your Inbox


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.