INDIANAPOLIS – With a stretch of warm and dry weather coming for the next few days, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is ready for an increase in boaters at area lakes.
The department’s captain of public information, Captain Jet Quillen, said his office anticipated an active weekend starting Friday.
Boat traffic was already rather busy by noon Friday at Geist Reservoir. Quillen expected traffic to peak by 10 a.m. Saturday.
“We’ve had a lot of rain and it’s kind of put a damper of boating season so far,” Quillen said.
While the DNR and law enforcement agencies patrol Indiana water year-round, the days after the upcoming Fourth of July weekend will be the DNR’s Operation Dry Water weekend, where patrols will increase to help stop people from operating boats while intoxicated.
“The limit is 0.08,” said Quillen. “We look for signs of impairment, just like if you were driving a car.”
Quillen said last year, his department arrested 117 people for boating while intoxicated. Numbers for the four years prior ranged between 63 and 86.
“We don’t like to ruin people’s weekends,” Quillen said. “We rather take you to jail than notify your family there has been a serious accident.”
Boaters out on Geist Friday said they frequently notice the DNR and other authorities patrolling and appreciate the work to keep them safe.
“I’m always driving defensively and aware of the fact there could be people who have been drinking,” said Mike Samson.
Samson said his passengers are typically his wife and two young daughters, so he wants to keep them safe. Often, he will avoid boating when he feels the lake is too busy.