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Authorities to patrol Wisconsin waters for impaired boating

NOW: Authorities to patrol Wisconsin waters for impaired boating

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MILWAUKEE COUNTY (CBS 58) -- Many people will be out boating on lakes and rivers this weekend and authorities have a warning.

If you're caught operating a vessel while impaired -- you will be arrested.

It's part of a national campaign called, Operation Dry Water. 

Authorities across the area and country will work with the U.S. Coast Guard to remove impaired operators.

It's to decrease accidents and potential deaths. According to government statistics, boating accidents where alcohol is involved accounted for 31-percent of all boating deaths.

Being impaired while boating can affect judgement even more than while driving because of the sun, heat, wind and noise of the boat, according to authorities. 

"And a lot of people aren't as confident out on the water as they are say in a vehicle, so there's a lot of things that you just wouldn't expect being out on the water that you have to account for,” said Lt. Phillip Gurtler, U.S. Coast Guard. “One of the things that we actually find here at the Coast Guard is that it’s not actually the operator that is the one who's injured, it's actually their passengers."

The goal of the campaign is to increase boater safety and awareness when it comes to boating under the influence.

Authorities said if you'll be boating, you should do it sober, and wear your life jacket.

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