Boaters beware: Wardens check those celebrating on the water this Fourth of July



MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Fourth of July is always a big holiday for Wisconsin boaters, but when it falls on the weekend, state game wardens expect even bigger crowds on the water -- and that means law enforcement officials are on the water too.

You've got to believe Warden Jason Roberts isn't alone this weekend. He's on a mission to keep the water clean.

On Friday afternoon, he made safety checks at Lake Beulah -- just north of East Troy.

The Fourth of July brings out even the most casual of water hounds.

The first thing wardens prepare for is congestion on the water.

"On the Fourth of July we tend to see an increased level. People are up at their lake house. People enjoy boating. Most people have off work," Roberts said.

To counter the crowds, you'd be hard-pressed to find a warden with the Fourth of July off work.

"Almost all of the summer holidays we are out there working," Roberts said.

The Wierzba family from Waukesha couldn't help but notice the added badges on the water on the Fourth of July.

"Making sure people are making good choices and being safe -- and if you need something from them they are there. So it's good to have their presence," Jenny Wierzba said.

Wardens look for boaters to have the right safety gear, including life jackets and fire extinguishers. They also check carry-ons.

"You've been with the family and friends for the entire day. Watch the alcohol consumption and make sure when you do head out in the water in the evening, you want to be sure to have a sober captain," Roberts said.

The drinking limit on the water is the same as on the highway. To operate a boat, your blood alcohol content must be at .08 or below.

There will be a heavy presence on the water all weekend -- including wardens, police, deputies, and if you're on Lake Michigan -- the Coast Guard.