Maine Marine Patrol cracks down on drinking and boating
BRUNSWICK (WGME) -- The Maine Marine Patrol began Operation Dry Water, a crackdown on drinking and boating, all along the Maine coast Friday.
This weekend you can expect increased patrols not only on Maine's rivers, but on lakes and coastal bodies of water too.
Marine Patrol says it will be one of several agencies on high alert all weekend long as part of this national initiative known as operation dry water weekend.
Officials say there are two safety aspects they're really focusing heavily on, stopping people who are boating under the influence and two and teaching people about the importance of life jackets.
According to U.S. Coast guard statistics about 85 percent of drowning victims across the country last year weren't wearing a life jacket, and the Coast Guard also says alcohol was the leading contributing factor in roughly one out of every five boater deaths in 2015.
Officials planning to be out on the water themselves this weekend say their goal isn't to arrest people or hand out tickets. It's to make sure people make it home.
"With this line of work we get to see the consequences of for not being well prepared and not taking the proposer preventative safety measures on the water," Marine Patrol specialist Matt Sinclair. "When you deal with a drowning situation it's a horrible tragedy."
So really the message from law enforcement officials as we head into the weekend is have fun, be safe, and if someone approaches you have your safety gear ready.