(UNDATED) - Indiana conservation officers were involved in a national campaign this weekend to bring awareness to the dangers and penalties for operating a boat while intoxicated.
Lieutenant Bill Browne says Operation Dry Water is a similar to campaigns about drinking and driving, however there were not extra patrols on the water. All arrests, citations, and accidents have been reported to the U.S. Coast Guard for a national report of waterway incidents around the country.
Browne says the same laws that apply to drinking and driving apply to drinking and boating as well. There are a few differences in terms of penalties, but those will be streamlined effective July 1st. The biggest difference is that open container laws do not apply to boats.
Browne says officials are still suggesting staying sober while on the water regardless of who is driving is the best way to go. Browne says drinking on the water can become dangerous for anyone,especially if they fall into the water. He says reaction time to the danger is slower and even the best swimmers are inhibited when under the influence.
In addition to Operation Dry Water this past weekend, conservation officers conducted a summer long campaign called "Wear It Indiana" which encourages boaters to wear their life jackets. Browne says although Indiana law requires life jackets on all watercrafts, the law does not require they actually be worn. However, Browne says having the life jacket on the boat doesn't help safe a life if it isn't actually worn.
Conservation officers will be visiting various lakes and reservoirs throughout the summer giving out free gifts and information about the importance of wearing life jackets.
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