VAN BUREN Co., Mich. – Police in Southern Michigan are keeping their promise – they’re going after drunk boaters.
Local sheriff’s departments are teaming up with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Coast Guard to enforce the state’s boating laws and educate boaters about the risks of operating water vessels under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It’s part of the annual Operation Dry Water campaign, leading up to July 4th, the peak boating season.
Extra patrols are on area waterways this weekend cracking down on drinking and boating.
In Van Buren County, police booked 7 young people in the jail Saturday night after arresting them on Christy Lake in Lawrence Township. Sheriff Dale Gribler says officers were called into action after getting complaints about a party on a pontoon boat and the loud, obscene language that was heard.
After speaking with the complainants, deputies asked the sheriff’s office Marine Division to help, and they went on the lake to find the raucous boat.
Two women and five men, ages 19 and 20, all from Illinois, were on the boat and all were arrested for underage drinking.
Gribler says one was seen standing on a rear support bar to the pontoon’s canopy, and if he would have lost his balance would have probably landed in the water.
The blood alcohol levels of the suspects ranged from .08 to .24%.