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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