A week after the Operation Dry Water campaign to promote alcohol-free boating, officers with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources’ Marine Patrol backed it up with increased presence on the coastal waters over the long July 4 weekend.

Marine Patrol chief Keith Davis said his officers issued 28 boat and water citations and arrested eight people for boating under the influence during that same time period.

According to Davis, a total of 352 boats and 1,486 people were checked during the holiday weekend, and the Patrol reported one minor accident involving two Jet Skis.

“More people go out on the water during a holiday weekend,” Davis said. “We want people to enjoy our waterways through boating and fishing, but we also want them to be safe. Boaters need to make sure they have the proper safety equipment on board for their protection and their passengers' protection.

“They also need to have a designated driver,” he said. “Boating under the influence is a serious offense, and we do not want people to put their lives and the lives of others at risk.”