New Colorado campaign aims to catch boaters who might be drinking

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — This Fourth of July weekend, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will be stepping up its boat patrols, looking for boaters who might be drinking.

They are calling it Operation Dry Water, and it kicks off this weekend in Colorado. It’s a national campaign to raise awareness on the dangers of boozing and boating.

In 2020, there were 767 boating fatalities nationwide. That’s a 25.1% jump from 2019, according to a report from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Aurora resident and part-time skipper Chris Bray is looking forward to this weekend on the water with his family. He is also looking out for others who may be boating under the influence.

“Keep your eye out for what’s going on around you and watch the other guys,” said Bray.

Bray is sailing cautiously, responsibly and with safety in mind. He is not who Colorado Parks and Wildlife are looking for.

“We are looking for any of our navigational rules being broken, dangerous reckless operation where they are getting too close to other vessels,” said Michael Haskins, Colorado Parks and Wildlife park ranger. “The part of Operation Dry Water is to remove intoxicated boaters from the water and make it safe for everybody else.”

Make no mistake, you can be arrested and go to jail if caught.

“You will be arrested, you will be taken to jail. It is a misdemeanor in Colorado. There are fines associated with it and, if convicted, you will lose your privilege to operate a boat,” said Haskins.

Captain Chris is on board. He knows and respects the rules of the water, and would much rather spend time on the lake than in lock up.

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