EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSDrunken Boaters Aim Of WV Patrols
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Associated Press
Reported: Jun. 27, 2014 3:34 PM EDT
Updated: Jun. 27, 2014 11:34 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
With several local events and nice weather ahead, there will be plenty of boats on the river this weekend.
And on Friday, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources kicked off Operation Dry Water to make sure everyone is safe.
"Some of our main goals we're looking at is the public's safe and make sure that people aren't drinking and driving," Chuck Holloran, with WVDNR, said.
This past Sunday, four people were injured after their boat collided with a barge. The DNR did find alcohol on the boat, but the investigation is still underway to determine if drinking played a role in the accident.
They hope Operation Dry Water reduces accidents like Sunday's, as well as fatalities, especially ones caused by boating under the influence or BUI.
This weekend, the DNR will be out on the river to make sure all boaters are sober.
"It's pretty dangerous when other people are out here drinking because it's not really you that you really have to worry about it's the people that may be intoxicated," Holloran said.
So if you're out of the river this weekend, don't be surprised if you run into the DNR.
"Just stay cool. We may come out. We're out here doing a job just to try to keep everyone safe. We don't want to be an inconvenience. We want everyone to just enjoy it," Holloran said.
Operation Dry Water runs until Sunday.
Natural Resources Police will be on lakes and rivers across West Virginia this weekend to keep drunken boaters off the waters.
Called Operation Dry Water, the national campaign is intended not only to get tipsy boaters off the waters, but to raise awareness about the hazards of drinking and boating. They'll also promote the idea of "sober skippers," a nautical version of the designated driver.
Lt. Time Coleman is boater safety coordinator for the Division of Natural Resources' Law Enforcement Section. He told the Charleston Gazette the division will have enhanced patrols on the Ohio, Monongahela and Kanawha rivers, as well as lakes.
Nationwide, Coleman said more than 50 percent of all boating accidents involve alcohol.
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