WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. - If you drink then drive on land, you'll end up getting a DUI offense. But if you drink then drive on the water, you can still get in just as much trouble.
As we inch closer to the fourth of July there will be an extra set of eyes keeping people safe on Tennessee lakes. News 5 learned if you get a BUI it can cost you a hefty fine, jail time, and even losing your boating license.
There are three worries for Maureen Hagel every time she gets behind the wheel of her boat. "People drinking, not paying attention, cutting in front of you not paying attention," she said.
But this weekend officers with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency are paying extra attention during Operation Dry Water. "DWI, DWI...doesn't matter where you're at. Shouldn't be drinking and driving any kind of vehicle," added Hagel.
Officers are looking out for drivers boating under the influence, whether it's drugs or alcohol. In Tennessee it's illegal to steer a boat if your blood alcohol level is higher than .08.
These extra set of eyes are all an effort to lower the number of crashes and fatalities. In 2011 there were five fatal accidents in Tennessee lakes where alcohol was the primary cause.
Allen Couch and his wife always bring a cooler of drinks and snacks, "I've got cold beer today, Marty's got water, she's going to do the driving today."
But there's always a designated driver since he says you can't be too careful. "You've got a lot of people's lives in your hands when you're running a boat, you've got kids swimming, people tubing, there's a lot going on a busy summer day," he added.
News 5 also learned things like the sun, wind, vibration, and the waves only intensify the effects of drugs or alcohol when boating.
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