June 29, 2023

To keep the public safe from watercraft-related accidents this upcoming Fourth of July weekend, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) and partner agencies will increase patrols on Arizona’s waterways from July 1-3 during Operation Dry Water.

This nationwide campaign focuses on decreasing the number of alcohol- and drug-related incidents and fatalities, and educating recreational boaters about the dangers of boating under the influence.

Law enforcement officers will remove dangerous and impaired operators from Arizona’s waterways during the holiday weekend. Officers may also give warnings or issue citations, including but not limited to safety equipment and life jacket violations.

“Boating or driving a car under the influence of alcohol or drugs are equally dangerous,” said Danny Rodriguez, AZGFD’s watercraft law administrator. “Our top priority is to create a safe environment for everyone enjoying Arizona’s waterways.”

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the Fourth of July and Memorial Day holiday weekends account for more than one-third of all boating-related accidents and fatalities in the nation. One person died and six others were injured in watercraft-related accidents during the Fourth of July weekend last year in Arizona.

Arizona state law requires children 12 and under to wear a life jacket at all times while the boat is underway, and there must be one U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board for every passenger. In addition, a throwable flotation device, usually a cushion with handles or a ring buoy, is required for all watercraft longer than 16 feet (except for canoes and kayaks).

Subscribe to our Newsletter