Sheriff’s Department patrols waterways, encourages safe boating - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Sheriff’s Department patrols waterways, encourages safe boating

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – It's Memorial Day Weekend, the start of the summer boating season.

Which means the La Crosse County Sheriff's Department is out on the water patrolling, along with the local Departments of Natural Resources and the Conservation Warden.

Sheriff's Deputy Erich Zwicker said he'll be making sure boaters are following the rules of the water, like being equipped with life jackets and fire extinguishers, and following Slow No Wake rules.

The Sheriff's Department is also reminding boaters while it is not illegal to drive a motorboat holding or consuming alcohol, it is against the law to drive intoxicated.

"There's many factors that play into the fact that someone can get intoxicated a little quicker when on the water," Zwicker said. "For instance, you've got the vibration of the boat (that) tends to play role in the person's ability to operate, the sun, the heat."

The number of boating while intoxicated citations the Sheriff's Department has issued over the past five years has remained pretty constant. They issued three citations in 2008; four citations in 2012.

Nationwide, Wisconsin has the third highest number of alcohol-related boating deaths in 2012, according to the Associated Press.

Eight people died in drunken boating incidents in Wisconsin, the Associated Press reported.

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