Officials patrolling for intoxicated boaters as part of Operation Dry Water
MANISTEE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- Law enforcement will be adding patrols to the waterways this weekend, looking to crack down on boating under the influence as part of a nationwide effort called Operation Dry Water.
According to the United States Coast Guard, intoxication is the leading cause of fatal boat accidents.
“Attentiveness of the vessel operator, situation awareness, and skill and experience behind the helm of a boat are extremely important when we talk about boating safety when keeping yourself, your passengers and fellow when you are on the water,” said Petty Officer Adrian Ledesma. “So when you add alcohol into the mix you severely impacting your ability to make good, sound judgements behind the wheel of a boat.”
“We’re working with the Michigan DNR, the Coast Guard, when we go out there we look for drunk boating and make sure everyone is safe,” said Marine Deputy Mike Sekuris.
Deputies say the alcohol limit and penalties for a person operating a boat while intoxicated, are the same as a drunk driver on the road.
“It’s a misdemeanor, but if you're boating and you're under the influence and you hurt or kill somebody then it’s a felony, if you have three or more offenses, then it’s also a felony,” Sekuris said. “We want them to make sure their lights are working, following a safe speed, and following with the traffic not weaving in and out of traffic.”
“We love seeing people out there on the water and enjoying their time, recreating on the water, but we also want to make sure they are doing it in a safe responsible manner,” said Ledesma.
The Coast Guard says anyone heading out on boats should always have life jackets or life preservers available.
Deputies say if you see anyone out on the water you believe is not being safe or drinking and operating a boat to call your local law enforcement or Coast Guard station.