Officers out in force on waterways during holiday weekend

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Law enforcement officers across the state are stepping up patrols as people hit the water during the busy Memorial Day weekend as part of the 'On the Road, on the Water, Don't Drink and Drive' campaign.

Boaters who don't follow the law could face fines or even jail time.

Hannah Shively with the Wildlife Resources Commission says they are trying to ensure safety on the waterways. The officers will be out checking for life jackets and impaired boaters, two factors that contribute most to boating deaths in North Carolina.

"Alcohol use is unfortunately the leading known contributing factor in these fatal boat accidents, so it's very serious," she explained.

North Carolina ranks 10th in the country for boating fatalities, and nearly half of last year's deadly accidents were caused by drunk boaters.

Shively stressed the importance of designated drivers at all times.

"People don't take into consideration the elements of the outside like sunshine, the waves, the heat," she said. "All that contributes at it affects your alcohol use as well."

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