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BUI awareness campaign set for this weekend

BUFORD -- Georgia Department of Natural Resources rangers are taking part in a national campaign this weekend to raise awareness about boating under the influence.

The initiative is called Operation Dry Water and the DNR rangers will team with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to hand out safety handbooks and boating law information sheets. Rangers will use a mobile intoxilyzer, which is similar to what some agencies use during a road check for DUI. It's designed to make processing a suspected drunk boater more efficient.

"The ranger will be able to go to the mobile unit, administer the state breath test, and get back on the water working in half the time it would normally take," said Sgt. Mike Burgamy with the Georgia DNR law enforcement division.

Burgamy said the intoxilyzer is used regularly, and occasionally on big events.

The coordinated campaign is designed to reduce the number of alcohol-related accidents and fatalities, and to foster a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol use on the water.

Last year, DNR officials reported 180 boating under the influence arrests on state lakes and waterways.