SPECIAL REPORT: Operation dry water - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

SPECIAL REPORT: Operation dry water

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The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources teamed up with the United States Coast Guard the last weekend in June to crack down on drunken boating in a mission they call Operation Dry Water.

Officials say drinking and boating is a problem. According to the Coast Guard, alcohol is the leading cause of boating deaths.

Operating any boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher is against federal and Wisconsin law. In 2014, Wisconsin law enforcement officers issued 184 citations for boating under the influence.

But initiatives like Operation Dry Water are making a difference. Since the first annual Operation Dry Water campaign in 2009, boating fatalities have decreased nation-wide.

However, boating safely means more than just keeping booze off the water.

"Make sure you know your boat, make sure you know the equipment that you're operating with,” Wisconsin DNR Conservation Warden Randy Dunkel said.

Dunkel said it's necessary to check your equipment to make sure that everything is in proper working order. There need to be personal flotation devices for everyone on board the boat, as well as throwable flotation devices for those in distress. Lights, horns, and fire extinguishers must also be operable.

Dunkel said, "Look at the Wisconsin regulations. See that they're following the regulations.” 

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