Operation Dry Water: Pa. officials warn people not to drink and boat this holiday weekend

Operation Dry Water: Pa. officials warn people not to drink and boat this holiday weekend

With bars and restaurants not serving alcohol for on-site consumption due to the spike in coronavirus cases in Allegheny County, the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission wants everyone to know that you are not allowed to drink alcohol while driving out on the water either.

Starting Friday, “Operation Dry Water” will be in full force.

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Channel 11 found out the COVID-19 pandemic and its social distancing requirements have resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of boaters applying for launch permits. However, boaters out on the rivers, lakes and state waterways needs to know that increased traffic means law enforcement will be out as well.

Authorities will be enforcing safe boating laws, which includes watching for boat drivers under the influence (BUI) over the legal limit of .08.

“If you plan to drink as part of your holiday celebration on the water, please choose a designated boat operator,” said Officer Mike Johnson, with the Fish and Boat Commission.

Officers won’t just be checking for lawbreakers, but also compliance on life vests. Children under 12 years old must wear one, and the number of bests on the boat must match the number of people on board.

The fines and penalties for BUI and DUI are the same and can reach thousands of dollars.

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