Officers with the Department of Natural Resources are beefing up enforcement on Iowa waterways this weekend to crack down on boaters who are drinking too much alcohol. The effort is part of a national program called “Operation Dry Water.” Iowa D.N.R. boating law administrator Susan Stocker says many people underestimate the affect alcohol has on their ability to operate a boat.
“When people are out boating, they need to realize the wind, sun and wave action all affect the person’s ability to operate a boat when they mix alcohol with it,” Stocker said. The enforcement effort in Iowa will focus on 10 different bodies of water today through Sunday. Stocker is not revealing the exact locations.
She says 177 officers will be involved. “They’ll be doing check points and doing some extra enforcement and visibility out on the waters,” Stocker said. In 2009, officers made 30 boating while intoxicated arrests on Iowa waters.
Stocker says out of the three boating-related fatalities in Iowa last year, two involved alcohol. In Iowa, a boater is considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .10. On the road, the legal limit is .08.
Stocker says the D.N.R. will once again ask legislators next year to bring that ‘on the water’ limit down to match the roadway threshold. See more on the boating law here: www.iowadnr.gov/law/boating/index.html