DEEP conducts compliance checks to keep boaters safe during holiday weekend


(WTNH)– Boaters have already started heading out on the water and this July Fourth weekend is expected to be a busy one. Environmental Police and the Coast Guard will also be out on the water to make sure people are staying sober and safe.

Captain Keith Williams, an environmental conservation police officer with DEEP, has already seen a lot more boats on the Connecticut River.

“Just gonna do a quick safety compliance check alright?” he said to one boater he pulled over.

He’ll be doing compliance checks throughout the holiday weekend as part of Operation Dry Water.

“We’re out here trying to reduce the number of alcohol and drug related incidents with people operating vessels,” said Capt. Williams.

He says boaters don’t always realize how dangerous it can be to drink and drive while at the helm.

“On top of being impaired by the alcohol you have the sun, the wind, the waves, the motion all intensifies that effect,” said Capt. Williams.

So far this season EnCon police have cited one person for BUI. 

“So 84 percent of at least the fatal boating accidents that occur nationwide are all due because of alcohol impairment,” said Capt. Williams.

Along with the environmental conservation police – state police, local police departments, and also the Coast Guard will be out on the water doing compliance checks.

“So Cap I just want to see your boating license and one, two, three, five life jackets on board,” Captain Williams tells another boater during a compliance check. 

He says the life jackets need to be readily accessible especially if someone falls overboard.

“If you weren’t wearing it and you had to search to get them, it may be too late,” said Capt. Williams.

Many boaters appreciate this emphasis on safety.

“Glad to see their presence,” said one boater.

Others weren’t so happy to get pulled over. 

The captain spotted a jet skier reportedly speeding through a no wake zone. Jordan Startz, of Groton, said he was taking the jet ski which he built for a test drive on the river. 

We asked him if he was going to slow down next time. “No definitely not,” he said. “I’m just going to get my watercraft license and probably come out and do the same thing because it’s fun.”

He got a ticket for not having a license.

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