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Department of Game and Inland Fisheries kicks off Dry Water campaign due to holiday weekend

DUBLIN, Va. – The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says the leading cause of recreational boating accidents is alcohol use.

Starting Friday, the department is rolling out its campaign Operation Dry Water campaign to help keep you safe.

Members of the Arbuckle family spends a lot of time at Claytor Lake.
They say they have been very mindful of when they come out due to safety concerns.

“People have to be extremely careful (as) to where they are, and oftentimes it is really young people who may or may not have been drinking. So we try to avoid certain times and places on the lake where they might be,” said Michael Williams, a lakegoer.

So far, this season, lake officials have arrested four people on suspicion of operating a boat while under the influence. 

That is why the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is cracking down with Operation Dry Water.

“We are heightened awareness during this weekend. We will have more patrols and joint patrols with our sister agencies such as the state police and with everyone try to work together to prevent fatal events,” said Sgt. John Koloda, with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries..

Koloda also says boaters should expect to see more checkpoints on the water.

“Citizens using the waterways will probably see more officers out and possibly have more interaction with officers,” said Koloda. 

The Arbuckles say they don't mind the extra pair of eyes on the lake. 

“We welcome their presence, because I believe it really does,if not, sober people up or at least make them behave as best as possible,” said Williams.

Lake officials say they are expecting close to 500 boats on the water during the holiday weekend. They  remind people to be safe while having fun.