Operation Dry Water campaign putting a cork in drunken boating - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Operation Dry Water campaign putting a cork in drunken boating

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CORALVILLE (KWWL) -

There's a crackdown along the waterways this weekend as law enforcement officers are pushing for sober boating.

Federal and local agencies teamed up for Operation Dry Water - a nation-wide focusing on boat drivers operating while intoxicated.

"Very busy, but very fun," said boater Diana Fenton. "Fun to see people out wave at other people as the boats pass by. We do not bring alcohol on our boat."

Iowa Department of Natural Resources officer Erika Billerbeck says alcohol mixed with the wave action while boating, poses a danger.

"Anytime alcohol is involved in a situation things can go bad," said Billerbeck. "Especially this weekend we're looking for alcohol, but we're always looking for that anyways. So if somebody's intoxicated and driving a boat, which is obviously a big safety concern."

Billerbeck and her crews have spiked up patrols this weekend for the Operation Dry Water campaign.

She says some boaters think drinking and boating is not as severe as drinking and driving, but she says it can be even worse.

"A lot of times boats are loaded with 12 people and you rarely have 12 people in a car or van or anything so it's actually, in my opinion more dangerous to drive a boat drunk than it is a car," said Billerbeck.

In 2014 71-percent of Iowa's boating fatalities involved alcohol and many of those victims were innocent bystanders.

Although at Coralville lake BWI arrests have dropped between 2013 and 2014, Billerbeck says it would be great to get that number to zero, but it will be hard.

"I think bringing that number to zero is going to be hard because a lot of times drinking is associated with boating," said Billerbeck. "But it has gotten better and i think that is partially because we have been really cracking down on it and people are starting to get designated drivers like they do in a vehicle. We're seeing that a lot more. "

The campaign will run through Sunday June 28th and officers will be looking for safety violations and equipment on the boat as they crack down on drunken boating.

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