For Immediate Release: 6/27/2022

Division of Boating and Waterways Encourages Boaters to Boat Sober this Fourth of July Holiday Weekend

Participating Agencies

Operation Dry Water will carry out Boating Under the Influence Checkpoints

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – On one of the deadliest holidays for recreational boating-related accidents, California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is reminding recreational boaters to avoid alcohol this Fourth of July holiday weekend. DBW and more than 45 law enforcement entities across California will be participating in a nationwide boating under the influence (BUI) effort from July 2 – 4. Dubbed “Operation Dry Water,” law enforcement entities will increase patrols and/or carry out BUI checkpoints.

For the 13th straight year, the goal of the Operation Dry Water campaign is to reduce the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities and educate water enthusiasts about the deadly consequences of BUI. According to the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, where the primary cause was known, alcohol use continues to be the leading known contributing factor in recreational boating deaths in the United States.

“Spending time with family and friends in a boat on California’s waterways is one of the most popular ways people enjoy the Fourth of July Weekend,” said DBW’s Acting Deputy Director Ramona Fernandez. “We would like to remind boating enthusiasts that drinking and boating is just as deadly as drinking and driving. The environmental stressors of the marine environment accelerate the impairing effects of alcohol. We encourage boaters to keep alcohol off the water completely.”

It is against the law in California 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 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 and Recreation Areas

Auburn State Recreation Area (Auburn)
Folsom Lake (Sacramento County)
Lake Oroville (Butte County)
Millerton Lake (Fresno County)
Ocotillo Wells District (Imperial and San Diego)
Silverwood Lake (San Bernardino County)

City Police Departments

South Lake Tahoe
Long Beach 

County Sheriff Departments

Contra Costa
El Dorado
Los Angeles

San Bernardino
San Joaquin


Harbor Patrols

Santa Barbara

U.S. Coast Guard Stations/ Sectors

Channel Islands
Humboldt Bay
Lake Tahoe
Morro Bay

Rio Vista
San Francisco

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

Outdoor enthusiasts are also reminded to recreate responsibly this summer by wearing life jackets and actively supervising children when recreating near or in California’s waterways. Life jackets can be borrowed for free at one of over 100 local life jacket loaner stations throughout the state.

DBW would also like to remind the public that as of Jan. 1, 2022, all motorized vessels operators 45 years of age or younger are required to complete an approved boating safety course and obtain a California Boater Card prior to operating on state waters. Operators who are not in compliance with the law and caught operating without their card will be cited accordingly. This is considered an infraction and base fines can range anywhere from $100 –  $500. Please visit for information about the law, a list of approved courses (including a free one), and how to apply for your card.

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California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.