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The Alaska Marine Highway System is a critically important piece of infrastructure that links Southeast Alaska communities, funnels visitors looking to spend their hard-earned dollars into Alaska, and generates hundreds and hundreds of jobs inside the state.

Kenneth Ray Book, 92, died Jan. 30, 2016, in Beaverton, Oregon.
Lawrence Harris Milton, 79, died Jan. 5, 2016, in Ketchikan.
MaryEllen Haseltine, 91, died Jan. 239, 2016, in Ketchikan.
Dry water?

Seems like a contradiction in terms: Dry water.

But that’s what Alaska Wildlife Troopers are calling their campaign which kicks off today and runs through the weekend.

The idea is a no-brainer: Not to go boating under the influence. Troopers participate in the national effort “to educate boaters about the dangers of boating under the influence as well as promote safe recreating on the water.”

To effect that, in this fourth year of Operation Dry Water, troopers contact as many boats as possible to make sure they aren’t boating under the influence and that they are complying with boating safety laws. It’s a national effort organized by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators.

The organization hopes that people will think about safe boating and even take a pledge. The pledge is pretty simple, to never drink and drive a boat; never be intoxicated on a boat; never be irresponsible; never endanger oneself or others; never damage a boat; never risk injury or death; and never boat under the influence.

At http://www.operationdrywater.org/index.php/odw/boat_bui, Operation Dry Water has a table indicating how much alcohol might influence a person, based on body weight, and notes that there’s more to being affected by alcohol than just the alcohol itself. We can be tired or on medication; or maybe we are just one of those people who is more quickly affected by less drinking than some others. The bottom line: “There is no safe threshold for drinking and operating a boat.”

We are enjoying a glorious summer here in Alaska’s banana belt, and we are coming up on one of Ketchikan’s favorite holidays, America’s birthday. Let’s pledge, indeed, to be safe on the water, and keep everyone else safe, too.

Happy summer.