The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Department and other county sheriff’s offices, and other public safety agencies have stepped up patrols for intoxicated boaters through July 1.

Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer Chad Davis.

DNR Conservation Officer Chad Davis said it’s part of a nationwide effort called Operation Dry Water, which is intended to, “Reduce the number of boating injuries and accidents and boating fatalities, primarily dealing with impaired boating.”

Davis said, “Every year people are injured and killed in boating accidents and last year in Minnesota half of the fatalities were dealing with alcohol.”

The DNR recorded 12 boating fatalities in 2017 and six involved drinking. That’s slightly higher than the five-year average.

It is illegal in Minnesota to operate a boat with an alcohol concentration level of .08 or higher.