GARDINER, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - If you're thinking about drinking and operating a boat this weekend, think again. In fact, the Maine Marine Patrol and Maine Warden Service want you to never think about drinking while driving a boat. They are ramping up their "Operation Dry Water" campaign this weekend to kick off a safe summer of boating.
In Gardiner on Wednesday, Maine Marine Patrol, Maine Coast Guard and Maine Warden Service joined forces to stress the importance of learning how to be safe on the water.
This weekend, they will be on the state's inner waterways, pulling boats over for routine checks. The Maine Marine Patrol does not need a reason to pull someone over. Once pulled over, the boaters may be asked for license, registration and proper life jackets on the boat. If there's reason to believe the driver has been drinking, the marine patrol can perform the same sobriety tests as those for drivers on the roads.
Fines and punishment for operating under the influence can be steep. Offenders can face up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Passengers on the boat are allowed to drink alcohol, but are advised to drink in moderation. If an emergency does occur while they are out on the water, passengers have a better survival rate if they are not inebriated.