Operation Dry Water: Coast Guard cracking down on drunken, high boating

BOSTON — As the summer haze kicks in, Coast Guard crews in Boston are ready for the uptick in people heading out on the water for the Fourth of July.

The Coast Guard tells Boston 25 News they're cracking down on people using marijuana. While it's legal in Massachusetts, it's not legal on the water where the Coast Guard patrols.

"As Coast Guard members, we will enforce federal law and marijuana being a controlled substance based on a federal law.  We will enforce that law regardless of state laws," said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cory Murallo.

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And they have been enforcing it. In all of District 1, which starts off the coast of New Jersey and goes all the way up to New England, the Coast Guard conducted 35 marijuana seizures for 2018.

In their eyes, that's too many.

"I think that's a lot. That's 35 more than what we want it to be. We'd like it to be zero and hopefully, this boating season will see a decrease in that number," said Murallo.

Anywhere the Coast Guard patrols, including the Harbor or on the Charles River, is where they can crack down on this, which usually means issuing a violation.

They admit many can be caught off guard, thinking it's legal in local waters.

"We understand that people going out there is part of the holiday season but we want you to be protected and want you to look out for yourselves and others," said Murallo.

The Coast Guard is also teaming up with local police agencies for Operation Dry Water, which starts on July 4. They'll be looking specifically for people boating under the influence, the leading factor in deadly boating crashes.

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