‘On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive’ campaign kicks off this weekend

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 10:20 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive campaign is scheduled to kick off this weekend, according to a release from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

According to the announcement, the initiative seeks to reduce alcohol-related incidents on the roads and waterways.

“Fatalities that could be avoided with more responsible behavior are always difficult to process,” said Lieutenant Nathan Green of the Wildlife Commission. “It’s imperative to designate a sober driver whether you’re in a vehicle or on a boat. Boaters can reduce the risk of alcohol related incidents by designating a sober operator.”

In partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, NC State Highway Patrol and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the campaign will include safety check points throughout the state during Memorial Day weekend.

“During the campaign, law enforcement officers will be conducting sobriety checkpoints and promoting public awareness to deter impaired operation of cars and boats on various highways and bodies of water. In North Carolina, a driver or vessel operator with a blood-alcohol concentration that meets or exceeds .08 or is substantially impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, is subject to arrest,” states the NC Wildlife Commission in its release.

The On the Road, On the Water campaign will begin at the culmination of National Safe Boating Week, which continues through Friday, May 26.

Since Saturday, May 20, that campaign has promoted precautions and safety tips that should be followed when on the water, such as:

  • “Appoint a designated driver for the boat. Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and is just as dangerous as driving a car impaired.
  • Assign an adult ‘Water Watcher’ to actively supervise children in or around the water at all times. Young children and people who are not strong swimmers should always be kept within arm’s reach.
  • Swim only in designated areas. You are less visible to boaters and more vulnerable to accidents. Avoid diving in unfamiliar areas, as there may be hidden structures.
  • Wear a life jacket or Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device (PFD) at all times. Put your life jacket on prior to entering the boat and make sure its snug, yet comfortable, and will not move above the chin or ears when lifted at the shoulders.
  • Throw, don’t go. Be prepared to throw a floatation device or use a pole or tree branch to reach someone struggling in the water. Never jump in to save someone because you could go under too.
  • Attend a boater safety course. The Wildlife Commission offers an array of boating education classes. If you were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, you must complete an approved course before operating any vessel propelled by a motor of 10 HP or greater.”

“We cannot stress enough how important it is for you to wear a personal floatation device, or PFD, while boating, whether it be recreating, swimming or fishing,” said Captain Branden Jones with the Wildlife Commission. “In 2022, 20 people lost their lives on North Carolina waters; 16 of them were not wearing a life vest. PFDs save lives, but they won’t work if you don’t wear them.”

For more information on these initiatives, please visit the NC Wildlife Resources Commission website.