CREATED May. 25, 2013
With nice weather expected for the next few days people are getting out on the water to celebrate the holiday. According to the Coast Guard drinking and boating makes up for 17% of deaths on the water and officials say there will be no tolerance for drunk boaters this weekend.
Memorial Day weekend is part of National Safe Boating Week and the Coast Guard is making people aware how serious drinking and boating can be.
Stephen Seifert is from Sheboygan. He and his family came up this weekend to do some fishing, but he says the bay is much busier than usual today.
"Normally there's probably about 50 boats here, but now it's completely full," said Seifert.
All these people have the Coast Guard paying close attention to boating behavior. Drinking while boating is the number one reason for accidents according to the Coast Guard and it can actually be worse than drinking on land.
" Factors such as being out in the sun all day, the vibration of the boat, being dehydrated, things like that, so it has a much quicker and greater effect while you're out on the water," said Coast Guard petty officer John Alexander.
Although you're on the water, inspectors say drinking and boating can have the same implications as drinking and driving a vehicle.
"You lose your drivers license andhave to face all the same penalties," said Ricardo Barbosa, an inspector for Clean Boats, Clean Waters.
Ricardo Barbosa inspects the boats as they come out of the water. Today he was conducting a survey, but Barbosa knows how important it is to be a sober operator on the water.
"If you're intoxicated and you hit the water, a lot of people don't realize this, if you hit the water at a high rate of speed it's almost like smacking cement," said Barbosa.
Seifert and his family had their boat inspected last week and he says that's alright with him.
"It was worth it, I mean you have to know you're safe," said Seifert.
The ways the Coast Guard catch drunk boaters are the same ways they do on the road. If you're swerving or going to fast in an area they say they will stop you.