LAKE NORMAN, N.C. -- If you plan to go boating this weekend you won't be alone. Starting Friday, authorities are increasing patrols across the state, warning boaters about the dangers of drinking on the water.
We all know about the dangers of drinking and driving on the road, but authorities say it is just as dangerous to drink and drive on the water.
In fact last year, the U.S. Coast Guard reports the nearly 4,600 accidents on the water and 758 were fatal. So this weekend authorities are launching, "Operation Dry Water," as part of a national campaign to raise awareness about the danger.
This campaign is really leading up to next weekend which is going into the July 4 holiday when thousands of people are going to be heading to lakes and beaches across the state.
Authorities are really just trying to get the word out. So you'll see more patrols on the water and officers will be stopping boaters talking to them about the dangers.
Recreational boating fatalities jumped to their highest levels since 1998 last year, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The leading factor was impairment.
They'll also be looking for people not wearing a life vest. If you're caught drinking and driving you could get hit with a $1,000 fine and jail time.