Law enforcement push boating safety as lakes get more crowded before holiday

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Thursday, June 29, 2023
Rules on the water: Boating safety pushed as lakes get more crowded
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NC Wildlife pushing boating safety and rules as lakes get more crowded, especially around holidays.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- This time of year many families head out to local lakes to enjoy a day of boating, but with the recent influx of people moving to the Triangle lakes are more crowded than usual.

"I came out to fish 'cause the voices in my head told me to," Scott Meyer said.

If it's a Monday through Friday, Falls Lake is normally where you can find Scott Meyer.

"I just retired last year so I'd like to be able to come out during the week," Meyer said. "The weekends are just nutso."

He is especially avoiding this weekend to go fishing because of the holiday when hundreds of people are expected to hit the water across North Carolina.

"I'm going to avoid it personally, but I wish everyone safety out there," Meyers said.

Local law enforcement agencies said safety is the one thing on their minds.

"Overall we hope that everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday over the 4th of July. Please stay safe and sober while out here on the water," Lt. Nathan Green N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission said.

It's why wildlife enforcement is launching their Operation Dry Water campaign this weekend to help keep boaters safe.

With over 400,000 boats registered and a dramatic increase in new registrations, they expect to see a lot more this year.

"It's a risk also for the passengers on those boats for slips, trips, and falls. Often time people focus so intensely on that operation but it's for boaters in general," Green said.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol continues to be the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths and a major factor in incidents on the water.

Starting Friday through Monday you can expect to see extra patrols on the water and alcohol checks throughout the weekend.

Operation Firecracker and the Booze It and Lose It campaigns are also running this weekend with extra patrols on the roads.