BILOXI -- Marine patrol officers will be out in full force this weekend as part of a nationwide push to encourage safe boating by deterring impaired boating.
Several South Mississippi agencies will beef up marine patrols this Friday through Sunday as part of the Operation Dry Water campaign.
Officers will be looking for boaters driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and those impaired will be taken off the water.
"People know the danger of getting behind the wheel of a car when they've been drinking, and those same dangers exist when operating a boat," said Rusty Pittman of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.
"We want people to enjoy our beautiful waterways, but we also want them to know the risks and consequences of boating under the influence," he said.
Joining DMR officers on area waterways will be marine patrol teams from the D'Ibervlle Police Department, Harrison County Sheriff's Office, and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
Operation Dry Water is a project of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard. The boater safety campaign is held annually before the Independence Day weekend.
Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths, according to the NASBLA.