BILOXI -- Keith Davis, the state Department of Marine Resources' new chief of patrol, met some of his officers on the water Sunday as they conducted boating safety checks.
Davis said he and his staff are urging boaters to drive sober and defensively while enjoying the area's waterways.
Marine patrol officers hope their heavy presence on rivers over the weekend was a wake-up call for boating safety and a deterrent for those inclined to combine boating with alcohol.
The beefed up presence was part of Operation Dry Water, a nationwide campaign held annually to remind boaters of safety issues before the busy July 4 weekend.
Within a two-hour period Sunday afternoon, about 200 pleasure boats were in the area where the Biloxi and Tchoutacabouffa rivers meet.
"There will be twice as many in this one area over the holiday weekend," said DMR Lt. Patrick Levine.
Most boaters checked over the three-day safety campaign were behaving themselves and driving safely. Marine patrol officers performed numerous safety checks and talked with some boaters about safety issues they apparently didn't know about. For instance, paddle boarders, and people on personal watercraft and tubes also learned safety rules that apply to them.