Authorities on lookout for drunken boaters over Fourth weekend at Lake Tahoe

A Nevada Department of Wildlife boat on Lake Tahoe. Abbi Agency photo

A Nevada Department of Wildlife boat on Lake Tahoe. Abbi Agency photo

Two boats adrift on Lake Tahoe on Tuesday morning kept East Shore rescuers busy in the days leading up to the three-day Fourth of July weekend.

Operation Dry Water weekend, July 2-4, will see amplified recreational boater outreach, education and coordinated enforcement surrounding boating under the influence.

Alcohol use continues to be the leading known contributing factor in recreational boater deaths and a leading contributor in boating incidents.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife is asking boaters to enjoy this boating season and help keep everyone safe by not drinking alcohol while on the water or operating a boat after you have consumed alcohol. Use of both legal and illegal drugs also impairs judgment and reaction time and creates dangerous circumstances while boating.

“Drinking and boating is never a good idea, but it’s a really bad idea this weekend,” said Game Warden Captain Brian Bowles. “With the amount of law enforcement that will be on the water statewide, if you’re drinking while operating a boat, you might be leaving the lake in handcuffs.”

The state will have boats on every major body of water across Nevada, and other law enforcement agencies are also adding extra officers to many waterways in other parts of the state. 

“We’re not trying to ruin anyone’s weekend,” said Capt. Bowles. “But it’s our job to make sure everyone is safe on the water, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to leave the alcohol for when you get back to shore.”

NDOW reminds boaters to always boat sober and to wear a life jacket when on or around the water. The risk of serious injury is the same for operators and passengers when drinking. Additionally, alcohol use by passengers presents a danger regardless of whether or not the operator is consuming alcohol.

For more information, boaters can access,, or


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