Operation Dry Water focuses on boat safety this holiday weekend

The USCG wants to make sure folks aren't boating and drinking. (WFSB)

This holiday weekend is expected to be busy on the roads and in the water, so law enforcement is stepping up patrols to catch people boating under the influence.

It’s all part of Operation Dry Water, which is a national campaign.

"Boating under the influence, just like driving under the influence, can be extremely dangerous,” Chief Petty Officer DJ Holcomb with the Coast Guard Station New Haven said.

The United States Coast Guard is just one of the many agencies patrolling the waters of Connecticut this weekend and making sure boaters are behaving and staying safe.

"It's something we enforce year round,” Holcomb said. “But particularly this weekend, being a holiday weekend, we want to make sure we're doing our job and everybody is safe."

It's why Holcomb and his crew of four from the U.S. Coast Guard, hit the New Haven Harbor on Friday and headed toward the Long Island Sound. As part of Operation Dry Water, they're out educating and making sure folks aren't boating under the influence.

"It has cost people their lives unfortunately and we want to prevent that as much as possible and be proactive by going out and educating the boaters,” Holcomb said.

In Connecticut, it’s just like driving, so that means no one can operate a boat with a blood alcohol level above 0.8. If caught, a person could face up to $1,000 fine, a one-year suspension of your boating privileges, jail time, probation and community service.

"Boating could be dangerous if you don't do it the right way,” Fred Mahnke, of Smithtown, NY, said.

Hanging with friends at Milford's Marina, Mahnke and a group from Long Island made the trek across the sound for the holiday weekend.

"We've been doing this, 40 some odd years,” Ruth Berroyer, of Nesconsett, NY, said.

"Every time we go to a marina we meet new people, it’s just fun,” Bill Berroyer, of Nesconsett, NY, said. “We have a good time and its relaxing."

That’s exactly what the Coast Guard wants people to do this weekend. They want people to have a good time, but be smart.

Holcomb said, “be safe, wear life jackets, make sure you have the proper gear.”

“And if you have someone you can designate to operate the boat, I highly recommend that as well,” Holcomb said.

Now, it’s not just drinking, part of Operation Dry Water checks includes making sure you have enough of these life jackets on board.

"We're going out to make sure they have all the proper safety equipment, and on top of that, that they're operating within the law,” Holcomb said.

While Operation Dry Water, officially runs Friday through Sunday, law enforcement will still be out in force on the Fourth of July.

"The biggest thing we want to do is educate. We want to make sure people understand the laws and that people are being safe,” Holcomb said. "We're going to be out a lot."

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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