Operation Dry Water underway on Virginia waterways

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — If you plan on boating this Fourth of July holiday weekend, you won’t be alone.

Law enforcement agencies will have more patrols out for Operation Dry Water.

It’s part of a national effort to stop impaired boat driving.

10 On Your Side tagged along with the Department of Gaming and Inland Fisheries Conservation Police, who will patrol waterways.

Sergeant Brandon Woodruff says it’s been going on since 2009.

While alcohol related fatalities have decreased, it’s still one of the leading causes of recreational boating deaths and crashes, according to Sgt. Woodruff.

“The blood alcohol content doesn’t increase. The effects of it increase because of the wind, the sun, and the rocking of the boat,” he said.

According to information provided by the DGIF, there were two fatal boat accidents and nine accidents with injuries in the state during last year’s Fourth of July holiday.

There were also seven arrests for operating under the influence, four of them in our region.

The majority of arrests though were for people not wearing life jackets.

Sgt. Woodruff says they know how to spot impaired boat drivers and many they pull over usually have at least one sober person on board who could’ve driven.

“Penalty for it is up to 12 months incarcerated, $2,500 fine, losing boat privileges a year the first time, up to three the second offense,” he said.

To make sure you don’t suffer those same consequences, Sgt. Woodruff says it’s important to pick a designated driver ahead of time to make it home safely.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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