DNR wardens patrolling for drunken boaters - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

DNR wardens patrolling for drunken boaters


Operation Dry Water is in effect this weekend.

DNR wardens throughout the state are patrolling waters to spread awareness about drunken boating.

Conservation Warden Paul Leezer patrolled Lake DuBay on Saturday.

"Drunk boaters endanger not only their lives, but the lives of their passengers and they endanger everyone else on the water," said Leezer.

The national campaign he says spreads awareness about the dangers of drunken boating.

"Impairment in boaters can be more dangerous than drivers because boaters typically have less experience and confidence operating a boat than they do driving a car," he said.

It's a good reminder to boaters, Leezer says, right before the before the Fourth of July.

He says that's the busiest time in the boating season.

"We get the awareness out so that hopefully, come the holiday weekend, we don't have any alcohol-related accidents or fatalities," he said.

According to the DNR, last year Wisconsin wardens gave out 241 intoxicated boating citations.

DNR leaders say alcohol was involved in eight percent of boating fatalities last year and in almost all those cases, the person wasn't wearing a life jacket.

"The simplest thing you can do to ensure your safety on the water is to wear a life jacket," said Leezer.

That's advice Nick Willkom of Stevens Point says he and his family follow.

"Making sure you're safe keeps everyone else around you safe so you don't injure anyone," said Willkom.

The awareness campaign lasts only a weekend, but Leezer says patrols are ongoing.

"We're out looking for intoxicated operators every weekend," Leezer said.

Penalties for drunken boating include fines, completion of a boating safety course and jail time.

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