Patrols In Full Force to Combat Boating While Intoxicated - WBAY

Patrols In Full Force to Combat Boating While Intoxicated

Updated: Jun 26, 2014 05:35 PM
As more boaters take to the water, patrols are taking action to keep people safe. 

Alcohol contributed to 17 percent of boating deaths last year, said Austin Olmstead, U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer based in Green Bay.

"A lot of times it's dangerous enough operating in wind or with other boats around without adding alcohol," said Lt. Kevin Wickman, Brown County Sheriff's Office.

This weekend is Operation Dry Water. It's a combined effort between the Coast Guard, local law enforcement, and DNR that's been a yearly event since 2009.

"Basically it's to make the public aware of the dangers of operating a boat and drinking alcohol in the process," said Wickman. He said it's successful.

Beginning Friday and continuing through Sunday, crews will be on the water in full force. They're emphasizing the importance of not drinking while boating.

"A lot of boaters come out on the Fourth [of July]. This will set the tone to hopefully incur people from operating a vessel while intoxicated," said Olmstead.

Every weekend, crews randomly check to see if boaters are operating boats while under the influence, but this weekend there is an emphasis on it.

The legal blood-alcohol content for operating a boat is the same as driving, 0.08. If a boater is found to have a blood-alcohol content about that, there are consequences.

"Jail time, fines, loss of boating privileges as well as possibly a loss of their driving privileges," Olmstead said.

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