(WMC-TV) – Many people will head to the water to cool off and celebrate the Fourth of July. But, consider yourself warned. If you drink and drive a boat, you will get busted.
You could face a several thousand dollar fine, time in jail and lose your boating license for six months if you're drinking and driving on the water.
"We're looking for BUI's, Boating Under the Influence, and we're checking for safety equipment, making sure everybody has their life jackets, kids have their life jackets on," said Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency agent Jake Yoes.
Wildlife officers and others will be out checking those having fun this holiday.
They plan to target areas along the Mississippi and Hatchie Rivers as well as Kentucky and Pickwick Lake.
"Across the state, we've had 9 fatalities due to boating accidents, due to reckless operation of the boat, BUI's, and approximately 85 accidents," said Yoes.
Yoes said it's not illegal to drink inside a boat: it's only against the law for the driver of the boat to be drinking.
He also said children under 13 must wear a life jacket at all times.
"If somebody out there is driving a boat while impaired and they run over another family and kill somebody else, that's something they'll have to live with the rest of their lives and it's not worth it," he said.
Officers will be ready to write tickets and send people to jail.
Yoes said he's arrested four people in Tipton and Lauderdale Counties alone for boating under the influence this season.
He said he expects more arrests this week.