Maricopa County Sheriff's Office implementing water patrols on Lake Pleasant for Labor Day safety

PEORIA, AZ - Deputies have been keeping a close eye on drivers and boaters this Labor Day weekend, reminding those celebrating the holiday to be responsible and to always put safety first.

Nearly a thousand visitors have been out at Lake Pleasant for the weekend and spending time on the water.

Eight Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies were assigned to patrol the waters on boats and jet skis Monday.

Deputies will be watching out for various safety violations including operation, speed, child safety and alcohol safety.

As of Monday morning, MCSO had given out seven Operating Under the Influence citations.

Boaters and jet skiers are being reminded to travel at a safe speed and in the correct direction of water traffic, especially during the busy holiday weekend.

Children under 12 years of age on the water must wear life jackets to ensure safety.

Andy Bahn with MCSO warns those celebrating with alcohol to do so responsibly.

Avoiding a charge of Operating Under the Influence, or an OUI, can be done by drinking water, watching alcohol consumption and most importantly, having a designated driver, Bahn said.

Brahn said getting an  OUI is similar to getting a DUI but does not result in the loss of your drivers license. He said it could cost a hefty fine and require boater safety classes.

Even a few drinks can put you and other boaters at risk.

"You get so many people out here and everyone's trying to have a good time, but it's dangerous enough without adding alcohol," said boater Jeff Jenson. He took his family to the lake early to avoid the party crowd.

The Salt River and other popular tourist spots have also implemented safe water programs and urge residents to be responsible over this Labor Day weekend.

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