Officials ramp up safety checks on water - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Officials ramp up safety checks on water in anticipation of holiday weekend

It's the perfect way for Mark Groth and his friends to cap off a celebratory weekend.

"Just a little wakeboarding coming off a buddy's birthday weekend, camping, having a good time," Groth said.

Groth, who operates the boat, says he takes it upon himself to make sure the good time doesn't get out of control.

"You don't want to drink too much and be operating the boat, that's when bad things happen."

Here in Iowa, what it means to drink too much, is about to change.  On July 1, new state boating laws will lower the legal limit from .1 to .08.

"It's no different than driving a car, so why not the same on the water?" Groth said.

"We can use it to let boaters know that it is being taken seriously that it's not something that you can have this level on the water and this level on the roads, but they're both the same now," said Department of Natural Resources Information Specialist Joe Wilkinson.

This weekend multiple agencies are teaming up to ramp up alcohol enforcement and education on the waters as part of the U.S. Coast Guard's 'Operation Dry Water' campaign.

"By enforcing the boating while intoxicated rule, that's just one more tool to kind of keep people safe on the water," Wilkinson said.

With fourth of July weekend nearing, Iowa officials are also looking for violations beyond boating while intoxicated, checking for things like serviceable life jackets and charged fire extinguishers.

An important reminder leading into a busy holiday weekend on the water.


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