Operation Dry Water hits the nation

(WEAU) - State numbers show in 2011, alcohol was present in four of eighteen people who died in boating accidents.

"People tend to have a few drinks and having a good time, but they also need to be conscience that their driving a vehicle,” said Bill Yearman, Recreational Safety Warden.

The campaign started in 2009 and last year's stats show that more than 150 citations were written in Wisconsin.

Nationwide, one in five boating deaths are because of boaters driving under the influence.

"So this was an idea to kind of get the word out to have actual enforcement out this weekend, but also to publicize it, people know this is an issue and this is a problem," said Yearman.

Boaters at Lake Altoona said that Operation Dry Water helps them feel safer when their out on the lake.

“I think it's a good thing, I don't think people should be out drinking when their running their boats and that anyway," said Alan Nelson, who lives in Eau Claire.

"Those who may get stopped or ticketed, maybe it will be a good reminder, it’s not unlike when when we’re driving on the roads, were just driving on water," said Arla Prestin, who lives in Eau Claire.

Prestin says she's even seen drunk boaters firsthand and saved a boy from getting hit after he went outside the swim zone.

"I didn't think that boater was aware of it, and was able to get that boy to safety and his parents weren't not behaving responsibly and were so involved in drinking. They weren't even watching him," said Prestin.

Yearman says fines if pulled over are the same as operating a car. Meanwhile, the legal limit on the water is also .08.

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  • by Gary Location: Maine on Jun 24, 2012 at 03:52 AM
    I am not a boater & i do not drink, yet i am moved to voice my displeasure over this issue as it is a clearly an abuse of authoritative power. Case in point, a driver of an automobile on a public street must present probable cause for law enforcement to pull them over & initiate an "investigation". Yet law enforcement has granted themselves the presumed right to pull over & investigate any & every citizen boater operating in pubic waterways WITHOUT PROBABLE CAUSE !! The fact that the public meekly submits without protest to such unreasonable oppressive "supervision" is indicative of citizens that are not just over regulated, but have been aggressively subjugated through the "politics of intimidation", which in essence is a variation of progressive stress reflex response behavior modification methods of mind control. In case you have not realized, I suggest that ours is a society surreptitiously hypnotized. Wakey wakey, snap snap, time to wake up from that lifelong nap :)
  • by Jackson Location: Eau Claire on Jun 23, 2012 at 08:02 AM
    Too bad we don't have the man power to enforce this on a daily basis. There are repeat offenders--more on weekends than on weekdays. That's why we boat when the river is a little more quiet if we can. I don't know why people think drinking while boating is acceptable at all. It's devastating.
  • by riverwatcher on Jun 22, 2012 at 06:32 PM
    hopefully it works and we dont have any accidents on the water this summer. last year was bad enough. the nasty one happened at my aunts property and that was heartbreaking. hope they be safe
    • reply
      by Bill on Jun 30, 2012 at 01:49 PM in reply to riverwatcher
      Gary-you are obviously ignorant to how boaters are stopped. Officers still need reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop a boater for a violation. It doesn't take long to develop either, as most drunks will violate some boating law during the day. I bet if you gave your last name, we could look you up on CCAP and find you have multiple issues with law enforcement.
    • reply
      by Tonya on Jun 30, 2012 at 01:57 PM in reply to riverwatcher
      Interesting that Gary claims he is not a boater...and does not drink...yet he knows so many examples of boats getting stopped without PC. Then he uses the word "surreptitiously" in his arguments to look cool. Take of the Teval sandals and wool socks and relax a little bit.
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