BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency has been participating in operation dry water all Independence Day Weekend.
Every year this campaign brings awareness to the dangers of boating under the influence and safe boating practices.
The long weekend means more people are out on the water, and the TWRA wants to make sure everyone is staying safe.
“We’re making a large visual enforcement presence on the water trying to detect, dieter and remove impaired operators from the water,” said Wildlife Officer Ryan Rosier.
Operation Dry Water is a weekend of education about the dangers of impaired boating throughout the state and making sure boaters are properly prepared when hitting the water.
“Our primary concerns when we contact boats is going to be safety equipment and the safe operations of the vesicles,” said Rosier.
Water safety is the number-one priority for the TWRA and the Kline Family.
“We came down here to boat and to be with family on the lake,” said Missy Kline. “We have been jet skiing ,tubing, floating, and eating.”
She and her daughters came from Illinois to visit family for the holiday weekend.
“Safety is number one,” said her daughter Jenny. “I’m not the best swimmer. So ,definitely wearing a life vest and knowing that there are people out here, even the other boaters. Making sure that I’m safe is so important.”
If you are operating a boat, a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 percent or higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating a motor vehicle.
Penalties may include fines, jail, and the loss of boat driving privileges.
“Whether carbon dioxide from exhaust and everything else, it can actually increase the effects of alcohol and make you more impaired from less alcohol,” said Officer Rosier.
Last year, during Operation Dry Water, Tennessee saw one boating-related fatality, and there were nine BUI arrests, according to TN.gov.