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Officers enforce boating safety, beef up patrols on waterways

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Officers will ramp up patrols throughout the holiday weekend and into the summer. Officers will ramp up patrols throughout the holiday weekend and into the summer.
WASHINGTON, N.C. -

It was a busy day for wildlife patrol officers with many North Carolinians taking to the water this holiday weekend.

Officers are working to enforce boating safety as more people take to the water, but drunk drivers aren't the only people they're looking out for.

"There are no lanes out here, people going every which way, so you've got to pay attention," said Master Officer William Cain with the NC Wildlife Commission.  "We're just out patrolling today.  Today is the 4th of July, you know, a real busy day today.  One of the busiest day's we've seen all summer."

Officer Cain says it's not so much about the blood alcohol level but the field sobriety tasks.  He says he mainly uses a type called "divided attention tasks" like the one where people are asked to touch their nose with the tip of their finger.

Cain says those simple tasks help check, not just for alcohol, but for drugs.  All the boaters Cain pulled during our ride along were within regulations; however drugs are a growing problem.  Cain told us about a recent incident before our trip. 

"He started taking prescription pills and taking his pills approximately every thirty minutes and he didn't have any alcohol in his body and he was pretty impaired," said Cain.

Cain says they'll continue to ramp up patrols throughout the holiday weekend and into the summer.  He says more and more officers are being trained to detect people impaired by drugs, rather than alcohol.

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