DNR Wardens keep waters safe on busy boating weekend

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by Lane Kimble

PEWAUKEE -- Cruising across Pewaukee Lake with his trusty binoculars in hand, Conservation Warden Recruit Mike Weber keeps a close lookout for problems.

"I wouldn't say nervous, I'd probably say excited," Weber said.

Weber is in the middle of his six-month field training, cutting his teeth during one of the busiest boating weekends of the year.

"It's great to be out here and i enjoy talking to people and making those contacts, so it's been a fun time," Weber said.

Weber and Warden Matt Groppi run random checks on boaters to make sure they re registered, have proper safety equipment and fishing licenses.

"There are a lot of people who are coming out on the water for the first time this year," Groppi said.

The warden sees plenty of boaters who haven't put their new registration stickers on yet -- a problem he can verify on his smart phone.

"Most people are happy that we're stopping talking to them," Groppi said.  "They're happy to see us out here.  We've already been thanked a number of times today."

"That respect, I think, goes both ways between people," Weber said.  "As long as an individual in law enforcement treats someone well, I think you're going to be treated well in return."

The team stopped more than 100 boaters over the weekend -- but stress they're not trying to ruin your fun -- they're also here to help.

"When people follow the rules, that makes our job that much easier," Groppi said.

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