DEM Environmental Police increase boating enforcement patrols for July 4

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A RIDEM Environmental Police Officer patrolling the waters off Fort Adams State Park in Newport. (Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management said it is partnering with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard to crack down on impaired boating.

Increased patrols from environmental police officers will occur Saturday through Monday for the holiday weekend.

They will be looking for boaters under the influence of alcohol or drugs and removing them from the water.

RIDEM said the partnership is part of its annual Operation Dry Water campaign that focuses on reducing the number of alcohol- and drug-related accidents and fatalities, deterring alcohol and drug use on the water, and raising awareness of the seriousness of boating under the influence.

The department also reminded boaters of new regulations released in March, including increased ticket amounts for violations, requirements that all people engaged in on-the-water activities wear an approved life jacket, and a new rule that boaters move over for emergency vessels within 300 feet of them.

“The tragedies that happen on our waterways because individuals choose to boat while impaired are totally preventable,” Captain Michael Schipritt said. “Our goal is to not only educate boaters on the dangers of impaired boating, but also to remind them of other safe boating practices, such as enrolling in a boater education course and always wearing a life jacket.”

Categories: News, Rhode Island