Operation Dry Water cracks down on boaters breaking the law - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Operation Dry Water cracks down on boaters breaking the law

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With the 4th of July right around the corner, more boaters are hitting the water in for some sunshine and fun. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks were also out patrolling to promote safety.

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks law enforcement team was out in full force Saturday. They were looking for those breaking the law on the coastal rivers.

“It all about safety,” said Lt. Barry Delcambre.

The crackdown is part of Operation Dry Water, a nationally coordinated effort to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities related to boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“BUI is boating under the influence on the waterways, and just like driving, you can't be .08 or greater. The boating season is starting to pick up and this is the time the boats are on the water during the months of June and July,” Delcambre said.

Those boaters stopped by the flashing blue lights Saturday had to be sober and show law enforcers they had the specific lifesaving equipment onboard their vessel, from fire extinguishers to personal floatation devices known as PFDs.

“Most of time they are missing PFDs or the PFDs that they have are not serviceable. Serviceable means they can't float.”

The boaters received very few warnings during the patrols. Instead, law enforcers wrote tickets to folks driving recklessly, not having proof of boat registration as well as other violations.

“They (citations) can go from $25.00 to some of the federal charges up to $5,000,” Delcambre said.

Some people on the water welcomed the crackdown.

“You have to have all your safety equipment, so you won't have any problems out there. If you are having problems, you need to have the proper safety equipment,” said a boater.

Lt. Delcambre hopes the extra manpower and patrols will to make a difference and save lives.

“The main thing is be cautious of your surrounding, and if you happen to drink get a designated operator,” said Delcambre.

Operation Dry Water began Friday and Ends Sunday night. It's a joint program with several organizations including the U.S. Coast Guard, and the MS Department of Marine Resources.

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