Indiana Conservation Officers will join a national campaign later this week aimed at creating a heightened public awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Operation Dry Water is scheduled for June 28-30. The effort is a nationwide education and enforcement initiative developed by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Since it launched in 2009, the percentage of boating fatalities in the United States in which alcohol is listed as a contributing factor has decreased from 19 percent to 17 percent.

In Indiana, the blood-alcohol limit for boat operators is the same as for vehicle drivers, 0.08.

Of course, not all boating accidents are the result of alcohol or drug use. Here are a few safe boating facts to consider before heading out:

• All motorboat operators in Indiana must have a valid driver's license to operate on public waters. Operators who are at least 15 years of age and don't have a driver's license may operate a motor vessel if they take an approved boater education course and have an I.D. card issued by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

• Boats less than 16 feet long, and a canoe or kayak of any length, must have onboard an approved floatation device for every passenger. Boats 16 feet and longer must have wearable devices for everyone onboard plus at least one throwable preserver.

• When a boat is operated carelessly in willful disregard of the rights, safety, or property of others, it is a crime in Indiana. Examples of reckless operation include: excessive speed; operating in a manner that may cause an accident; operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs; operating in an area designated for swimming; towing water skiers where obstructions exist or a fall might cause them to be injured; bow riding or riding on the gunwale or transom where no seating is provided

• If you are a boat owner take time to review the rules of the waterways. Planning and following the rules will help to ensure that an enjoyable day on the river doesn't turn into a tragedy.