MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officers and other authorities will be out in force this weekend, cracking down on drunken boating.
The effort is called Operation Dry Water, which is a nationwide effort to give boating under the influence, or BUI, high visibility prior to the Fourth of July holiday and peak summer boating season.
“We intend to reach out to as many people as possible about the hazards of boating under the influence,” said Capt. Greg Salo, DNR Central Region enforcement manager. “Some boaters will face the consequences of boating under the influence. We would much rather arrest someone than to have to tell a family that the person is never coming home again.”
BUI continues to be a big problem in the U.S. In 2011, alcohol was a factor in 50 percent of 16 boating fatalities.
The DNR says if arrested, impaired boaters can expect severe penalties, including a $1,000 fine, possible jail time and loss of boat operating privileges for 90 days.
According to the DNR, Operation Dry Water is a multi-agency education and enforcement initiative launched in 2009 in partnership with the Minnesota DNR, county sheriff’s offices and the U.S. Coast Guard.