BUI Awareness and Enforcement Campaign Set for July 4th Weekend


Operation Dry Water, a national effort to reduce the number of accidents and deaths related to boating under the influence, is July 1-3, and Nebraska will again be a part of the effort.

For the weekend leading up to July Fourth, Nebraska Game and Parks will have additional officers on the waters across the state. Their goal will be to raise awareness and to foster a stronger, more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water through enforcement.

Fourth of July is a holiday known for increased boaters on the water where alcohol use is prevalent and for a higher number of boating incidents and fatalities, according to Operation Dry Water.

“Drinking alcohol while boating can have serious, even deadly consequences, and our goal is to make sure everyone is enjoying their time on the water and staying safe,” said Jeff Clauson, boating law administrator for Game and Parks. “We encourage boaters to enjoy the water in a safe and responsible way.”

Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor to fatal boating incidents. Just like on land, alcohol use impairs judgment, balance, vision, reaction time and can increase fatigue. Sun, wind, noise, and motion — stressors common during boating — also intensify the side effects of alcohol and drugs.

In Nebraska, it is unlawful to operate a motorboat with a blood alcohol level content of .08% or greater. Doing so constitutes BUI, which carries penalties such as vessel impoundment, fines, jail time and loss of boating privileges.

During the 2022 Operation Dry Water, 51 Game and Parks conservation officers contacted 1,372 boaters, resulting in 305 safety warnings, 108 citations and 7 BUIs.

Operation Dry Water is a joint program of Game and Parks, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Find more information on the national effort at

Other boat safety reminders

In addition to recreating responsibly, Game and Parks offers these boat safety reminders:

  • Have all required boating safety equipment on your vessel, including life jackets or U.S. Coast Guard-approved floatation devices, lights, a fire extinguisher, horn, bailing bucket and an orange flag if pulling skiers and tubers.
  • Children age 12 and younger and anyone riding or operating a personal watercraft or being pulled on a towable must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Anyone operating a motorboat or personal watercraft must be at least 14 years old.
  • Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1985, must complete a boater safety course, which can be taken at; search for “boater education.”

For more information on boating rules and requirements, read the 2023 Boating Guide at