INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Officers are on the water all across the nation joining forces for Operation Dry Water and cracking down on people boating under the influence.
24-Hour News 8 rode along with conservation officer Mark Baker Saturday as he looked out for safety violations. Baker said one-third of all boating fatalities involve alcohol.
“Indiana waterways are meant to be a safe environment for all citizens and visitors to enjoy,” says Lt. Kenton Turner, Indiana’s Boating Law Administrator. “There is just no room for acceptance of impaired operation of a motorboat on our rivers, lakes and reservoirs.”
DNR says it doesn’t matter if a driver is on the road or on the water, they still need to stay sober.
“The only difference between being on a road and being on the water is there is no open container law on the water, people can actually drink while they’re out on the water and there’s no problem with that as long as they are responsible with it,” said Baker.
Baker also took the time to remind boaters of other safety regulations while out on the water, ahead of the busy July 4th weekend.
“The vast majority of accidents are due to human error and it could have been avoided if people maintain awareness. Watch for other boaters and make sure they obey not only the traffic laws, but the rules while they’re out there on the water. That would significantly cut down on the number of accidents we have in general,” said Baker.
Last year, across the country, nearly 300 people were arrested during Operation Dry Water.