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Officers Increase Water Patrols In Advance Of July Fourth

Boating accidents involving alcohol continue to go up. Officials are working to increase their visibility on waterways in an effort to reverse that trend.

Photo: Dan Goldblatt (WFIU News)

One boat rental company is ferrying customers to their boats.

Fourth of July is one of the biggest boating weekends. officers are working now to increase their visibility on the state’s waterways.

Indiana conservation officers will be participating in Operation Dry Water this weekend – a national campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of recreational boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Lieutenant Bill Browne says the number of boating accidents has gone up steadily over the past three years. Of 57 boating accidents in 2009, just 17 involved alcohol. But of the 75 boating accidents reported in 2011, 63 involved alcohol.

“We’re seeing an increase, and we don’t want to see an increase in it,” Browne said. “We actually want to see a decrease because people are becoming more and more aware that boating while intoxicated is a dangerous thing.”

According to the U.S. Coast guard’s 2011 Report, the last year’s boating fatalities were the highest in since 1998 and boating under the influence was the leading factor.

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