The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources along with other public safety officers will increase patrols and be on the lookout for intoxicated boaters from Friday, June 29 till Sunday, July 1. Operation Dry Water is a nationwide campaign that highlights the dangers of boating while under the influence of not only alcohol but also drugs.

Boating While Intoxicated or BWI is the leading factor in boating accidents and fatalities not only in Minnesota but across the nation. Alcohol has been a factor in 44% of boating fatalities in Minnesota over the past five years. In 2017 of the 12 fatal boating accidents, six involved alcohol. Most fatal boating accidents occur when the victim fails to wear a life jacket. However, in many of these cases it's operating while intoxicated that results in occupants of boats ending up in the water without their life jackets.

The legal blood alcohol limit is .08 for boaters. Those convicted of BWI face fines up to a $1,000 for the first offense, possible jail time, impoundment of their boat and trailer and the loss of boat operating privileges. There are other factors that make this punishment even more severe.

Last year five boaters were arrested in Minnesota for BWI during the three day Operation Dry Water campaign.

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