By Don Wagner email@example.com
2:36 PM EDT, June 22, 2012
If you plan to spend any time boating this weekend in Michigan, you better be sober.
Michigan is launching Operation Dry Water, a yearly campaign to enforce the state’s boating laws and educate boaters about the risks of operating a water vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, recreational boating fatalities in 2011 jumped to their highest levels since 1998, and boating while under the influence was the leading contributing factor.
Officers with the Coast Guard, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and sheriff’s departments will be out in full force this weekend looking for boaters whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08%.
“We intend to arrest intoxicated boaters and to reach out to as many people as possible about the hazards of boating under the influence,” said Van Buren County Sheriff Dale R. Gribler.
Alcohol contributed to just 6% of boating accidents overall but figured in 16% of boating deaths in the U.S. last year.
“There will be arrests this weekend, and some boaters will face the consequences of boating under the influence,” warned Gribler. “Boating is a safe and enjoyable pastime when people stay alert and follow the rules. We want boaters to understand the added risks associated with BUI and to avoid drinking and boating.”
Operation Dry Water puts thousands of local, state and federal marine law enforcement officers on the water nationwide before the July 4th holiday to give BUI enforcement high visibility during the peak boating season.
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