Minnesota DNR officers and area Water Patrol’s will be on area lakes this week to make sure everyone is boating safely.
Ramped up efforts to keep Minnesota’s waterways safe from boaters under the influence of drugs and alcohol are set, with hundreds of Department of Natural Resources conservation officers and other public safety personnel planning extra patrols during this Fourth of July week. The extra attention is part of Operation Dry Water, a nationwide campaign July 5-7 to highlight the dangers of boating under the influence of drugs and alcohol and call attention to the heavy penalties associated with boating while intoxicated (BWI). In Minnesota and across the nation, BWI is the leading contributing factor in boating accidents and fatalities. In the past two years, half of the fatal boating incidents in Minnesota involved alcohol, which is higher than the five-year average. Operation Dry Water coincides with the busy Fourth of July holiday weekend, when BWI-related injuries and deaths tend to spike.
“We have zero tolerance for boaters who endanger the lives of other boaters – or their own lives – by choosing to operate while under the influence,” said Lt. Adam Block, DNR Enforcement boating law administrator. “The penalties for doing so have never been higher, but they pale in comparison to losing your life or ending someone else’s life because of a choice you made.”
Minnesota’s BWI laws are among the strongest in the country, and new aspects of the law mean people convicted of drinking and driving – whether they’re driving a boat, motor vehicle or recreational vehicle – lose their privilege to operate any of them.
“If you plan to partake while you’re on the water, make sure you’ve lined up a sober ride – both on the boat and in the car on the way home,” Block said. “A little planning ahead can prevent a mountain of heartache in the future.”
Have fun on the water…but please do it safely!