Boaters preparing for the Independence Day holiday should be aware that Indiana conservation officers will be on alert for violations of boating-under-the-influence laws as part of national Operation Dry Water.

Operation Dry Water —  operationdrywater.org — a year-round program, will be in heightened effect Friday through Sunday.

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.

Officers will be on the lookout for impaired boaters. Boaters will notice an overall increase in patrols, both on the water and at recreational boating checkpoints.

“Alcohol use can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time,” Lt. Kenton Turner, Indiana boating law administrator, said in a news release. “Every year, we see boating accidents and tragedies that could have been avoided, had alcohol or drug use not been a factor.”

Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal on all bodies of water, and can lead to serious injuries and consequences. In Indiana it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 or higher, the same BOC for land vehicles.

Conservation officers remind boaters to always boat sober and to wear a life jacket when on the water. 

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