NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office took News4Jax along Saturday for a routine patrol that’s part of Operation Dry Water, a year-round campaign that cracks down people who boat under the influence.
Several state and local law enforcement agencies joined federal agencies and groups this weekend to patrol waterways for three days around the Fourth of July holiday.
Ken Clements, a detective with the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit, noted that the Amelia River was busy for Independence Day.
“It’s a very busy day. A lot of people take their boats out that haven’t taken them out the rest of the year,” he said.
Along with checking for sobriety on the water, the extra personnel from law enforcement, the Coast Guard and other marine activities are also checking for boater safety.
“All required Coast Guard safety gear. It’s going to be life jackets, a whistle or horn; a sound producing device, a throw cushion, a fire extinguisher, again life jackets for children younger than 6,” Clements said.
According to the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, 736 total agencies and 7,696 officers participated in Operation Dry Water in 2019. More than 9,500 citations were written and 563 BUIs were issued.
“The most excitement we have had today is involving the crane that is staying at the Port of Fernandina,” Clements said.
Just in from Texas, the Versabar 10,000 is a massive crane that will be used to remove the Golden Ray, which remains capsized in St. Simons Sound.
“They are going to cut it up into whatever size they can handle and remove it,” Clements said. “The Coast Guard enacted a 100-yard safety zone around it and sightseers are wanting to get real close to it, because it probably will never be in Florida again.”