BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Get ready to see more conservation officers on Indiana waters.
They have stepped up patrols Friday through Sunday for the Independence Day weekend. The effort is called Operation Dry Water, and extra patrol officers are out on the water looking for boaters who have been drinking.
Indiana conservation officers in partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard will focus on educating boaters about safe boating practices, including keeping alcohol off the boat for both operators and passengers.
Steven Jennings and his friend Marisa Pyatt, both from Chicago, came out to Monroe Lake, located south of Bloomington, for some sun and fun on a jet ski. “It’s a pretty nice day out here for my birthday weekend and holiday weekend,” Jennings told News 8.
“I feel like, today, it’s a lot of families” on the lake, Pyatt said.
About the added boat patrols, Jennings said, “I think it’s fairly needed That’s something I thought about the first few times I went out on a boat.”
Lt. Angela Goldman, a conservation officer with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, said the mission is to keep boaters safe and to catch people who are intoxicated while operating boats. In Indiana, it’s illegal to operate a boat or a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.
“It carries the same penalties and fines as operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, so it’s just as dangerous and can be just as deadly,” the lieutenant said. “What’s critical and most important is that you have a sober operator to get you back home.”
Goldman added, “It’s absolutely critical that if you’re going to come out here, have a great time. But, watch your alcohol consumption if you’re going to be the operator.”
A news release also reminded boaters to wear life jackets when on the water.