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BWI enforcement to increase this weekend

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State law enforcement agencies are warning boaters to stay sober as revelers prepare for the July 4 holiday week. Officiers with the Department of Natural Resources and others plan to increase patrols Friday through Sunday in an effort to keep Minnesota waterways safe, KARE 11 reports.

The effort is part of Operation Dry Water, a national weekend of increased boating-while-intoxicated enforcement.

Boaters, like road vehicle drivers, are considered impaired with an alcohol concentration of .08. The state in its boating regulations notes that first-time offenses carry up to a $1,000 fine and possible jail time. Penalties are more harsh for anyone with a .20 level or higher.

In 2012, alcohol was a contributing factor in 5 of 15 deadly boating accidents in the state. Last year, 158 people were arrested for BWI in Minnesota, with 91 in Hennepin County, the Brainerd Dispatch reported.

There were 72 non-fatal boating accidents, last year in the state, according to DNR statistics.

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