Minnesota joins a nationwide effort to stop people from boating under the influence during the week of the Independence Day holiday.
The effort is called "Operation Dry Water" and enforces zero tolerance for intoxicated boaters. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and a number of other law enforcement will increase patrols on Minnesota rivers to educate boaters on safety requirements.
Dakota County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Regis said there are a number of things officials do when they are on patrol.
"Education is very important. We like to hand out materials and inform people," Regis said.
"If they don't have a clue we like to let them know that for certain boats, you need to have a fire extinguisher. You have to have a whistle. You have to have life jackets for everyone on board and a throwable flotation device readily accessible.
If people are knowledgeable boaters and you see them time and time again and they don't have these materials, then a citation is typically what we do."
According to the DNR, alcohol is a factor in a third of Minnesota boating accidents. The DNR encourages boaters to call 911 if they encounter an intoxicated boater.
"We do encounter people, yes, that are under the influence of alcohol. You can tell that their boating abilities are hindered by that.
The penalties for Boating While Intoxicated are the same as for drunk driving. DNR officials say that violators are given a citation and will see a hike in their insurance bill.
Also, the St. Croix River from Taylors Falls to Prescott is currently a no-wake zone due to strong currents that will increase shore erosion. Recent rains and predictions for weekend storms make the river unsafe for boating over 5 mph. High water is likely to continue through next week.