US Coast Guard joins Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office in Fourth of July patrols

US Coast Guard joins Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office in Fourth of July patrols

Just like driving a vehicle on land, if you’re caught operating a boat under the influence, not only will you be putting yourself and other peoples’ lives in danger; you can get arrested, charged and fined.

So far this summer, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office has charged 19 people with operating under the influence. They say more charges are expected during Fourth of July weekend.

Kootenai County Marine Deputy Justin Arts is out on Lake Coeur d’Alene year-round and sees every type of water-related call. He says that he and the rest of the department want everyone to have an enjoyable Fourth of July, but they want people to be safe and enjoy the holiday responsibly.

“What the water does though is because your out in the weather and in the waves and just the environment, it amplifies the effects of alcohol,” explained Deputy Arts.

This week they’ve called in reinforcements. They’ll be joined on the water by the US Coast Guard.

Deputy Arts stressed that everyone on the water should wear a life jacket for safety, no matter your skill level. He said accidents on the water can be very different than on land, especially if you go in to the water. Response can take longer. Having a life jacket on can help you to be spotted quicker.