The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will join partners across the country this weekend for the annual Operation Dry Water campaign – a national crackdown on impaired boating. DEM’s Division of Law Enforcement will be conducting increased patrols from Friday – Sunday and monitoring for boaters under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“It is our job as law enforcement officers to identify and remove drunk or impaired boaters from the water – so that everyone can continue to have an enjoyable and safe boating experience,” said Lieutenant Steven Criscione, boating safety coordinator for DEM’s Division of Law Enforcement. “The effects of impairment on the water can be severe. Boaters tend to have far less experience and confidence operating a boat versus an automobile, and stressors common to boating – sun, wind, noise, vibration, and motion – can intensify the effects of drugs and alcohol.”

The U.S. Coast Guard finds that alcohol use is the leading cause of recreational boating deaths – with 15 percent of all recreational boating fatalities nationwide attributed to alcohol use. According to Rhode Island law, the limits (.08) and penalties are the same for driving and boating under the influence. Testing standards are also consistent.

“Operating a boat under the influence has impacts both on the water and off,” continued Criscione. “Many boaters trailer their boats. An intoxicated boater, if undetected, could eventually get behind the wheel of a car and onto our highways – putting countless people at risk. Regardless of whether you personally boat or not, we all have the potential to be impacted by an impaired boater.”

Partners in Operation Dry Water include DEM, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, U.S. Coast Guard, and many others. As part of the 2016 campaign, DEM boarded 61 vessels; issued 36 warnings and citations for boating-related equipment, operation, and other violations; and made 3 arrests.

For more information on Rhode Island boating laws, visit www.dem.ri.gov.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.