Macomb County Sheriff water patrols out in numbers for safe July 4 weekend

Image 1 of 3

Marine patrols with the Macomb County Sheriff's Department are out in force for the Fourth of July weekend.

They're making sure everyone follows the rules out on the water. That means staying sober while operating a boat. FOX 2 rode along with deputies -- working to make sure everyone plays it safe.

In Macomb County alone, sheriff deputies are expecting at least a few thousand boaters on the water this weekend, and that means patrols will be heavy.

Deputy Jamie Bagos is one of many who will be patrolling the water all weekend.

"(We'll be) making sure everyone is operating their vessel safely, making sure they have all the right equipment on board, and making sure the operator of the boat isn't intoxicated. having a good time and having a good time safely."

You definitely don't want to be over the legal limit while operating a boat.

"They recently changed that law from 1.0 to .08, so you need to be sober while you're driving a boat," he said.

Deputies are not taking any chances. Bagos explains how a simple mistake like the way he spotted a boater's young daughter riding carelessly in her father's boat could end in tragedy.

"It's dangerous for the simple fact that it's windy out and if we were to hit a wave the wrong way, she could go underneath the boat and get run over by the boat," he said. "If his daughter were to go underneath the boat or go underneath - the best case we have a rescue on our hands, worse case she's dead."

Although, it's a huge inconvenience to have a sunny afternoon with his family interrupted by law enforcement.

Dad understands it’s only a lesson learned.

"When she stood up, I said something to her." her father said. "You have to be safe on the water. absolutely. wear your life vests, keep your kids sitting down, and have the proper equipment."

Even if you're an expert swimmer or boater, the good guys will still check up on you.

On Lake St. Clair on Friday afternoon, there was a scary situation with a flipped sailboat.

Bagos tells the boater failed to connect all of the lines, and once he made a turn into the wind, the sailboat capsized. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

"Things can go bad quick out here and sometimes they do and luckily, we're out here," he said.

It is also important to know that operating a boat while intoxicated or arrested for disorderly conduct on the water which includes fighting, yelling at people in a rude manner are misdemeanors.

You could face up to 90 days in jail, and possible fines.