Police step up patrols for drunken boaters ahead of holiday

Posted: Updated:
ON THE HUDSON RIVER -

Police are warning boaters who are heading out ahead of the Fourth of July holiday: don't operate a boat while intoxicated.

Westchester County police say a weekend-long crackdown on drunken boaters is underway on the Hudson River. It's part of the Coast Guard's Operation Dry Water, and it involves marine units that are out patrolling the river.

Westchester Police Sgt. John Butcher says the legal blood alcohol limit is the same for boaters as it is for drivers, 0.08. But the consequences for boating while intoxicated are worse on the water than on the roads, he warns.

"You crash on the roads, your car just stops where it is. You crash on the water, your boat sinks," Butcher says.

Police are also reminding boaters that they need a life jacket of the proper size for every passenger on board, along with a Type 4 throw-over in case someone falls overboard. Boaters who aren't equipped with both could get hit with a big ticket.

And Jet Ski operators are being reminded to slow down near the new Mario Cuomo bridge, and not to buzz the shore.

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