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Law enforcement patrol Lake Norman to ensure boater safety during July 4th weekend

Officers say they will be looking for impaired drivers on the lake and doing safety checks to make sure boats have the proper equipment on board.

LAKE NORMAN OF CATAWBA, N.C. — Large crowds expected at Lake Norman for the July Fourth holiday means law enforcement will be out in full force to ensure boating safety.

Officers say they will be looking out for signs of impaired driving as part of "Operation Dry Water." It's an initiative kicking off to prevent lake DUIs that officials say can sometimes be even riskier than driving drunk in a car.

“A lot of our boat accidents, a lot of our deaths and injuries come from impaired driving," North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Officer Matthew Lee said.

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If you are suspected of drunk driving on the lake, your next ride will be in the BAT mobile -- that stands for Breath Alcohol Testing. In this one location, officers can perform several sobriety tests and in some cases even have a person see a magistrate.

“Instead of them having to leave here and go perform these tests at another test site they can come in and typically do everything they need to," BAT Program Supervisor said.

Officers say they will also be doing boat safety checks on the lake as well to ensure the proper equipment is on board.

“North Carolina law says if you have a child under the age of 13 anytime a vessel is underway they have to have a life jacket on," Officer Lee said.

Contact Briana Harper at bharper@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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