Operation Dry Water In The QCA - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Operation Dry Water In The QCA

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 Operation dry water is in full swing this weekend.  It's a campaign geared toward increasing awareness about  the dangers of boating while under the influence.  Iowa DNR officers along with other agencies are patrolling the water and making routine safety checks.

"Drinking and boating are not a really good mix," Iowa DNR law administrator Susan Stalker said.  

Stalker says every year boaters go out on the water and drink too much without realizing how dangerous it can be.

"When people are out boating for recreation, they all want to have fun.  The thing they don't realize is the wind, water and glare off the water enhances the affects of alcohol," said Stalker.  

Stalker says nationally 34 percent of water fatalities involve alcohol, but here locally the numbers are higher than average.  

"Iowa last year, 66 percent of our fatalities involved alcohol," Stalker said.

DNR officer Jeff Harrison says operation dry water aims to lower that number.  

"We don't want anyone to get injured, drown or have any boat accidents," said DNR officer Jeff Harrison.  "Hopefully they're going to learn from this weekend  and say, 'ok this is what we need for our safety. this is where our limits are for alcohol use. so they can follow those procedures>[Duration:0:10]

Harrison tells TV 6 that one of the most common misconceptions about boating are the same way driving drunk can land you behind bars, operating a boat with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit can too.  

"If we detect alcohol while on a search and they're operating the boat in an unsafe manner, we will see if  they have slurred speech," Harrison said.  "If they have blood shot eyes and watery, then we're going to question if they've been consuming and make a determination of if we'll go with a field sobriety test at that time."

Some boaters say they're just happy a campaign like this is around that keeps both boaters and officers on high alert.

"Even with the bigger presence out there--people are going to be more careful. just like speeding down the road,  if you see cops out there -- you're not going to speed and do things you aren't supposed to do," boater Melissa Stanton said.  

"There's definitely a lot of partying that goes on on the river. It's good to have people safe as well," said boater Sean Geffert.

DNR officers tell us they stopped 51 boats with 128 occupants and wrote 2 citations Saturday. They made just one boating while intoxicated arrest.

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