Vet Voices

Just because you’re on the Ohio River doesn’t mean drunk driving floats this 4th

Ohio County

7NEWS jumped in a boat to find out what officers are warning.

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — This Saturday through Monday, Operation Dry Water is coming to the Ohio River. 

No, we’re not talking about the river drying up, we’re talking about staying sober behind the wheel of your boat.

This weekend will be the busiest time of year for people partying on the water. Just like a car, you can face jailtime if operating a boat under the influence. 

The Ohio River and waterways, you don’t have marked lanes. It’s upon the operator to use good judgement.

S.C. Haines, West Virginia Natural Resource Police Officer

Good judgement is quite the opposite of what comes when drugs or alcohol are in your body. 

“In my experience, whenever I work a serious boat accident, usually, typically there’s an impairment level of some sort there.” 

S.C. Haines, West Virginia Natural Resource Police Officer

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol is the leading known factor in fatal boating accidents which Officer Haines is familiar with. He says there’s an uptick of drinking and boating this time of year. 

“The worst accidents happen around the fourth of July, would you say? It has been my experience. I’ve worked accidents, fatal accidents, during the Fourth of July weekend.” 

S.C. Haines, West Virginia Natural Resource Police Officer

Know your surroundings.

Hundreds will hit the water this weekend to watch Wheeling’s fireworks. 

We’re not saying don’t go enjoy yourself on the water… Just be safe so that you, your family and first responders all have a happy 4th

“We like to see those families out here, enjoying,” said Officer Haines. “That’s the biggest part.”

Reminder: If you invite people into your boat, make sure to have enough life jackets for everyone, especially those 12 and younger. 

West Virginia Natural Resource Officers patrol the whole Ohio River from Wetzel to Hancock.

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