Drunk boaters to be targeted on Iowa waterways over holiday weekend

Des Moines, Iowa – The Fourth of July holiday weekend is typically one of the busiest times of the year on Iowa’s waterways and law enforcement officers are planning to target boaters who’ve been drinking. Dustin Eighmy is a conservation officer with the Iowa DNR.

Iowa DNR officers are ramping up enforcement efforts this weekend as part of the national Operation Dry Water campaign. Susan Stocker, boating law administrator and education coordinator for the Iowa DNR, says the goal is decrease crashes and deaths.

Six people were killed in Iowa in boat crashes last year. Two of those crashes involved alcohol. In Iowa, it’s illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher – the same as it is to drive a car. Jeff Swearngin, chief of the Iowa DNR law enforcement bureau, says alcohol tends to impair judgment and reaction time even greater on the water.

Boating while intoxicated is not only dangerous, Eighmy notes it can also be expensive.

To take the pledge to not boat while intoxicated and for other resources about boating safety, go to OperationDryWater.org.

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