Authorities are out in full force this weekend in search of boaters who've had too much alcohol. Troopers with Oklahoma Highway Patrol are participating in the national campaign called Operation Dry Water. The most important message OHP troopers are trying to get across is that drinking and boating is just as deadly as driving under the influence.
Trooper Ben Chapman with OHP is scouting the waters of Keystone Lake this weekend, looking for boaters who are breaking the law.
"We understand people work jobs. They want to come to the lake and decompress this is their recreation. We understand that, but we still have to be responsible with our actions in what we do. Alcohol kills. It kills on the highway and it's just the same in the boating community," Trp. Chapman said.
The three day event was organized to raise public awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence and to reduce the number of deaths on the water related to alcohol consumption.
"There are a lot of inherently dangerous things that can happen in a vessel if you don't respect it and you don't operate it in a responsible manner," Trp. Chapman said.
Trp. Chapman said people need to understand that drinking and boating can lead to accidents, drownings and deaths.
"It can ruin a weekend and lives in very quickly," Trp. Chapman said.
The state of Oklahoma ranks 13th in the nation for alcohol related vessel accidents and about 500 people die each year.
The solution is not to drink if operating a boat because if a trooper stops you, the consequences are serious.
"There is an operating under the influence law in the state of Oklahoma. If you are operating a vessel on our waterways and your blood alcohol concentration is .08 or more you are under the influence," Trp. Chapman said.
If you are caught boating and driving the chances are troopers will arrest you. Passengers can also be arrested for public intoxication if they have been drinking and are causing problems.
During Operation Dry Water, troopers will also be checking to see if vessels have enough life jackets for everyone on board.
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