TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Florida Fish and Wildlife officers have extra help to crack down on impaired boaters this Fourth of July.
They just got a mobile breathalyzer unit, which they will take out on the water with them.
"We have zero tolerance for anyone that's choosing to be operating under the influence," FWC Officer Ashley Tyer told FOX 13.
Tyer says impaired boaters are immediately arrested, sent to jail, and could be fined up to $500.
She says the breathalyzer will help them become more accurate because the test would be done on scene. Without one, boaters would take the test when they got to jail. That gave their body time to metabolize some of the alcohol and their blood alcohol level would be lower.
FWC is also kicking off a public education campaign called "Operation Dry Water." It encourages boaters to choose a sober designated operator.
It could be a matter of life and death. Last year, impaired boaters caused 38 crashes. Seven people died.
Tyer pointed out that impairment can be caused by more than just alcohol. If you have taken drugs, even prescription ones, and your skills are not as good as they should be, you can be arrested for boating under the influence.