Law enforcement officers who patrol Iowa’s waterways say too many boat operators are getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. Steve Griebel is a D.N.R . conservation officer in northwest Iowa. He led a boating safety enforcement project on the Missouri and Big Sioux Rivers near Sioux City last weekend.
Griebel says officers had contact with nearly 70 boats Saturday night. "We ended up doing six sobriety tests on 11 different boat operators. Out of those, five were arrested for boating while intoxicated," Griebel said. "We also ended up with one O.W.I. in a motor vehicle."
Officers also handed out 13 citations for safety and equipment violations. Griebel says most people on Iowa’s rivers and lakes are obeying laws and staying safe.
"But, you know, anybody that’s drinking and driving…that’s too many," Griebel said. "I definitely believe, at least in my territory, there are too many people that are disobeying our safety rules. We want people to have fun when they’re (boating), but they need to be safe so they get to go home."
Griebel says two boat operators had blood alcohol readings above .08 but less than .10. The legal limit for boaters in Iowa is .10, while motorists can be charged with drunk driving if they’re blood alcohol level is above 08.
Last weekend’s enforcement project near Sioux City also involved law officers with the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department.