Law enforcement officers will be boosting their presence on Iowa’s lakes and rivers this weekend as part of a national effort called Operation Dry Water.
Susan Stocker is boating law administrator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “It is designed to educate the public and our boaters out there that operating a boat and drinking alcohol don’t mix,” Stocker said. The Operation Dry Water campaign begins tomorrow (Friday) and runs through Sunday.
Last year, over the three-day period, 10 people were arrested around the state for boating while intoxicated (BWI). Officials also issued 161 warnings or citations. Stocker is encouraging boaters, especially those behind the wheel, to drink water rather than alcohol.
“I think what people don’t understand is even though they’re surrounded by water, individuals don’t remember to consume water,” Stocker said. “So, besides dehydration from the sun, the wind and the glare, (not drinking water) gets them in trouble.” Iowa law was changed five years ago — reducing the blood alcohol level for boating while intoxicated from .10 to .08 percent — the same as a motor vehicle.
There are more than 235,000 registered boats in Iowa.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City