DNR increases water patrol for 4th of July weekend

DNR increases water patrol for 4th of July weekend

DNR wardens are keeping waters safe on one of the busiest boating weekends in the state.

For the Department of Natural Resources, 4th of July isn't just a holiday. It's one of the most dangerous weekends for boaters and that's why DNR rangers are spending their weekend, at lakes and rivers.

They're stopping boats - trying to keep BUI's and accidents from happening.Unlike a car, rangers say it's legal to have open containers on a boat.

"On the waterways, you are allowed to drink. We always try to tell everyone that alcohol and water doesn't mix well," Bobby Timmerman, first class ranger for DNR said. "We try to make sure they keep a sober operator and keep it to the minimum they're out here."

Just as long as the driver isn't intoxicated, and they're blood alcohol level is under the legal limit of .08. This family didn't want to take any risks, and appointed a designated driver.

"Just paying attention, just letting me drive. I can't drink, so I just drive and make sure everybody is doing okay," said Austin Kessler, a designated driver for his family.

Rangers are also enforcing the new boater education law that went into effect earlier this week. If you were born after January 1st, 1998, you have to take a class to drive a boat.

"Those under the age of 16 can now only operate a PWC or a 16 foot or less vessel with less than a 30 horsepower motor after they've taken the boater safety course," said Timmerman.

If you're caught boating under the influence you can face fines and prison time, and if you're caught driving underage, you could face misdemeanor charges.

For more information on DNR boating laws and penalties, click here.

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