HOT SPRINGS, Ark.— As many celebrate the July 4th weekend on the water, law enforcement with Arkansas Game and Fish are patrolling the lake a little differently this year.
Sgt. Brady Baker says not only will they be cracking down on drinking and boating this holiday weekend, they will also be reminding folks to continue social distancing.
This weekend, the agency is participating in Operation Dry Water; a nationwide initiative cracking down on boating under the influence.
“We’re just trying to make sure everyone stays safe,” said Baker.
Baker says he expects the agency will issue around 60 citations, some of which will be from drinking while operating a boat.
“BUI is a DWI, same penalties- same potential fines,” Baker said.
He says this weekend they are especially focused on safety as the number of boating accidents are expected to surpass 2019.
“Last year we had a total of 39 boating accidents and 10 fatalities and it’s July 4th and we’re at 33 accidents and nine fatalities,” said Baker.
This year he says they will also be reminding people to keep socially distant on the lake, as Coronavirus continues to spread across Arkansas.
“It’s as important as it is anywhere else. A lot more people are using the water since COVID-19 came about,” Baker said.
Arkansas Game and Fish is also patrolling Lake Catherine and Lake Ouachita this weekend.
Sgt. Baker says if you feel someone is being reckless, call dispatch at 1-800-482-9262.