Coast Guard cracks down on drunk boating 4th of July weekend

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IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. (WHEC) – Boaters are setting sail all weekend for the holiday. The Coast Guard says "Operation Dry Water" is in full effect, which is looking out for boating and drinking.

"Operation Dry Water" is a year-round campaign for police to prevent impaired boating accidents. Police say alcohol use is one of the leading factors in boater deaths.

"Just like you would do in a car, I highly recommend that you have a designated boat operator,” Chief Petty Officer with the Coast Guard, Matthew Riesberg said.

Fourth of July weekend is historically a big weekend for boaters. The coast guard says it will be on the lookout for impaired boating.

"The coast guards’ main focus for law enforcement is education and safety, we want to make sure that everyone gets home to their loved ones," Riesberg said.

"Operation Dry Water" is used when hundreds of folks could be out on the water. The goal is to prevent and educate about drunk boating, and even sober boating.

The Coast Guard says navigating the water at night can be difficult, especially with so many people around, on a holiday weekend.

“Use navigation lights, there are red and green buoys marked around the area,” Riesberg added.

Many agencies participate in the campaign, including the State Police, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and more.

“ To prevent accidents, is to educate the public. Be Safe Coast Guard recommends that everyone wears a life jacket while on the boat,” Riesberg said.

Over the course of the holiday weekend, police say they’ll be making arrests under a zero-tolerance policy.