Boaters might want to take extra care to keep sober this Fourth of July Weekend, as law enforcement agencies are ramping up their efforts to curb impaired boating on lakes across the region.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and local law enforcement agencies across the state are increasing patrols on lakes over the weekend as part of "Operation Dry Water," a national enforcement campaign aimed at cracking down on boating while intoxicated.
Sheriff's departments and the DNR have added patrols on lakes across Minnesota July 5-7 with the goal of reducing accidents and fatalities from boating under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Alcohol was a factor in half of boating fatalities in Minnesota in 2018, higher than the five-year average, according to the DNR.
The weekend of the Fourth is one of the busiest for boating and anyone behind the wheel needs to keep their head on a swivel, said Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officer Jake Swedberg.
"Stay vigilant, watch other boaters," Swedberg said. "To cut down on those accidents, it's like driving on the interstate or anywhere else. You've got to account for the vehicles around you on the water."