Authorities ramp up patrols for drunken boating

- Operation Dry Water was an effort by law enforcement this weekend to keep drunken boaters from getting behind the wheel and that effort will continue into the upcoming holiday weekend.

This weekend, there were four BWI’s issued by Hennepin County. Saturday’s weather threat kept some boaters home, but Major Jeff Storms says while most are responsible drinking, it often becomes a problem when boaters have been anchored for a while.

“The problem we have is when people over indulge,” said Storms. “They're in areas for too long where they're anchored and they are drinking and they decide to go somewhere. That's where the biggest problem comes.”

In Minnesota, 42 percent of fatal boating accidents involve alcohol. In 2015, alcohol was a factor in seven out of 16 fatal boating accidents, but the number of BWI’s issued has been dropping. But the sheriff's office says that doesn't mean they'll be easing up on enforcement.

“Drinking on a boat is recreational that's what people do,” said Storms. “We just ask that people do it safely and make sure your boat operator is not drinking at all. That's the best way to handle it.”

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