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Don't drink and boat, there are extra patrols out this weekend

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If you're going out on a boat this weekend, be sure to stay dry. You can still take a dip in the lake, just don't be drinking if you're driving.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be paying extra attention to catch people boating while intoxicated. It's part of a nation-wide effort called "Operation Dry Water."

That means that there will be extra DNR and safety officers out patrolling the lakes Friday through Sunday.

DNR Conservation Officer Adam Block reminds people that "drunk boating is drunk driving," and you can be arrested for operating a boat under the influence.

Last year, there were 78 BWI arrests made in Minnesota.

And according to Operation Dry Water, alcohol is the leading factor in fatal boating incidents.

Over the past five years, 42 percent of those accidents involved alcohol.

That's right in line with last year's numbers. The Minnesota DNR says there were 16 fatal boating accidents. Alcohol was involved in seven of those.

What's the legal limit?

It's exactly the same as it is to drive a car: .08.

So if you plan to drink, you might want to decide on a designated driver.

That's a better option than facing a hefty fee, possible prison time, having your boat impounded or losing your license – all of which could happen if you're caught drinking and boating.

Just in time for 4th of July

Fourth of July is usually the busiest and deadliest time of the year for boaters, according to the American Boating Association.

That's why Operation Dry Water takes place right before the holiday weekend.

Again, alcohol is listed as a big contributing factor in deaths and accidents.

The association and DNR also say wearing a life jacket can help cut the risk of death. The boating association says 80 percent of those who die in boating accidents weren't wearing one.

However, the DNR says alcohol is often the reason people end up in the water in the first place.

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