2 OWI Arrests Made On Lake Co. Waterways; Police Up Patrols

July 6, 2024 0 By JohnValbyNation

LAKE COUNTY, IL — The Fourth of July week can make for busy waterways across northern Illinois. And when boaters mix drinking with boating, major incidents, including collisions and deaths, have occurred, police said.

But this past week, no major incidents were reported on rivers and lakes patrolled by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office — including drownings or boating collisions, Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputy chief Christopher Covelli told Patch on Friday.

Authorities did arrest two boaters for operating while under the influence, he said, including one boater on Bluff Lake on June 29 and another who was taken into custody on Nippersink Lake on Wednesday.

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In an effort to cull the problems associated with boating and drinking, the sheriff’s office is taking part in a nationwide effort, Operation Dry Water weekend, through Saturday. The effort is meant to educate recreational boaters about the dangers of boating while under the influence.

As part of the effort there will be an “intensified recreational boater outreach, education, and coordinated enforcement against boating under the influence,” according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

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Alcohol use is the leading-known contributing factor in recreational boater deaths and a leading contributor to boating incidents, police said.

“The sheriff’s office urges all boaters to prioritize safety by choosing to boat sober throughout the year,” according to the news release from the sheriff’s office. “The use of both legal and illegal drugs impairs judgment and reaction time, posing significant risks while on the water.”

Local police are urging residents to boat sober, wear a life jacket and to be courteous to others on the water.

“The risk of serious injury is equal for both operators and passengers when alcohol is involved. Additionally, alcohol consumption by passengers poses a danger regardless of the operator’s alcohol intake,” according to the news release.

In 2023, law enforcement officers across the nation removed 717 impaired operators from waterways across the nation during Operation Dry Water weekend.

Boaters can learn more about boating under the influence by visiting operationdrywater.org. Operation Dry Water is coordinated nationally by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.

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