OSAGE BEACH - The Missouri State Highway Patrol will be increasing its forces in Missouri waterways this weekend.
Operation Dry Water began today and will run through Sunday. It is a national campaign where law enforcement officers across the country dedicate the last weekend in June to focus on boating while intoxicated.
"We have found over the years that weekend preceding Fourth of July is historically very busy," said MSHP Sergeant Scott White.
White explained that every single trooper that can be working out on the water will be.
Last year during Operation Dry Water troopers arrested a total of three people statewide for boating while intoxicated. They also issued 85 boating violation summonses and 588 warnings on Missouri waterways.
"Every year those numbers fluctuate, a lot of those numbers last summer were rained out and we just didn't have a lot of that boating traffic," said White.
He explained that boating while intoxicated is often much harder to detect than driving while intoxicated.
"You have to remember that there is no stop signs, there's no stop lights, there's no center lines out there on the lake," said White.
MSHP has no quota or set number of stops to make. Many times they will end up pulling boaters over for a minor violation like a no wake violation, then they find the driver to be intoxicated.
Since the operation first began back in 2009, MSHP has participated every year. White says the easiest way to avoid any danger is to simply designate a sober boat driver.
"I think this has had a positive impact. Over the years we've seen more and more of those designated captains...but there are still a few people who are dragging their feet and that's what these operations are for," said White.
While the operation will end on Sunday, White said every weekend at Lake of the Ozarks is busy during the summer months and MSHP will always be out there.