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Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officials encourage safety on the water this summer


According to the National Safe Boating Campaign, one in three boating fatalities involve operating a watercraft under the influence (BUI). Ahead of this summer’s water recreational season, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has launched its new boating safety campaign, “Don’t Be The U in BUI and DUI".

The campaign is a collaboration between multiple law enforcement agencies like Kentucky State Police (KSP), the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Through the summer, various educational videos on boating safety will be made available to the public.

Sergent Chris Mulholland is the Conservation Officer for Kentucky Fish And Wildlife’s 8th conservation district, which includes boating areas in Rowan and surrounding counties. He said intoxication is especially dangerous when mixed with other factors boaters may encounter.

“Consuming alcohol or drugs, any kind of intoxicating substances, can definitely have its effects on people. Especially out in the water, where you’ve got the water, the movement of the boat,” said Mulholland. “And then you’ve also got compounding effects of the sun and the heat. A lot of times, you know, that can definitely alter one’s ability to safely operate and maneuver watercraft.”

Mulholland said like any other outdoor recreation, boating safety involves making basic responsible decisions.

“If you’re going to go out in the woods or whatever, if you’re going to go hunting or fishing, boating, it is best to have a plan. Let your family know where you’re going, how long you plan on being gone. You can also make sure you pack adequate supplies. Whether it be food, water, toiletries, things of that nature, because obviously the sun can be detrimental to you after long periods of exposure,” said Mulholland.

Mulholland said people can reach out to their local conservation officers anytime through Kentucky State Police Dispatch, and he encouraged people to make conversation with conservation officers or game wardens they encounter during their summer recreation.

Boaters can refresh their knowledge of safety and regulations through the 2024-2025 Kentucky Fishing and Boating Guide, available online at fw.ky.gov.