DNR Cracks Down on Drunk Boaters - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

DNR Cracks Down on Drunk Boaters

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Addie Olson

aolson@myabc5.com

@addieolson

According to the Department of Natural Resources, Saylorville Lake saw the second highest number of drunk boating arrests in Iowa in 2012.

The Mississippi River was the only body of water where more Boating While Intoxicated citations were issued.

"Alcohol seems to be involved in almost every crash that we have on the waterways," said DNR Officer Jeff Swearngin.

It's common for a lot of boaters: grab the beer, grab the cooler and roll on out to Saylorville Lake.

"It's a popular lake, we have lots of folks here, we have lots of boats in the metro area and that's just where folks go to recreate," Swearngin said.

Most drivers say they watch what they're drinking out on the water.

"I might have one or two," said boater Kenneth Danley.

"I'd say maybe a couple would be OK, but if you're going to sit out and drink all day it's probably not the smartest thing," said Jacob Johnson, another Saylorville boater.

The DNR reminds those boat operators that some people lose track. The limit behind the wheel of boat is the same as that of a car: .08.

"If you're a drunk boater on the water, then you're a drunk driver on the road," Swearngin said.

They're not saying to leave the cooler at home, but they do want to make the waterways safe for everyone.

"There's lots of families out there on the water and just one mistake can ruin a lot of folks lives," Swearngin said.

Next weekend the DNR will be out in full force for Operation Dry Water.

They'll be cracking down on anyone who might be under the influence while boating.

"Our officers are making arrests just about every weekend on the water," Swearngin said. "Fortunately we don't have very many accidents but the ones that we do have seem to be very serious."

Operation Dry Water will take place from June 28th through June 30th. Last year they visited six different Iowa waterways and issued 136 BWI citations.

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