Law enforcement steps up patrols on lakes, rivers

Tip: Don't drink alcohol while operating a boat
Posted at 5:28 PM, Jul 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-03 10:55:51-04
A major crackdown is underway all around southeastern Wisconsin.
Whether it's on the roads or in the water, police want to make sure you celebrate the Fourth of July holiday safely. That means not operating while intoxicated, including in the water.
The Racine County Sheriff's Office Water Patrol let TMJ4 ride along as they patrolled Lake Michigan. Law enforcement around the area, including the Department of Natural Resources and Coast Guard also have extra patrols watching for OWIs. 
"Our concern is for everyone's safety, you know we are probably going to have a lot of people swimming or even out in the lake," said Sgt. Dan Hogan with the Racine County Sheriff's Office. 
Hogan said though you can drink on a boat, you cannot be over the legal limit. But that is not the only concern. Life jackets are a major priority as well. After pulling over a boat, Hogan found a group did not have enough for everyone onboard.
"I personally have a zero tolerance for people who don't have life jackets," Hogan said. "You are just asking for trouble."
Besides it being against the law, Hogan said distress calls for boats in trouble happen pretty regularly and being on such a big body of water like Lake Michigan make it very dangerous. 
"People drown. With life jackets at least you got a chance," Hogan said.
The violations for not having the proper equipment are not cheap. A ticket runs about about $160.