PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With a busy holiday weekend ahead, boaters are once again being urged not to operate under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM) says environmental police will be out patrolling local waters and conducting checks for impaired boaters.

The DEM is partnering with the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) as part of a countrywide crackdown on impaired boating.

The message from the DEM: “Don’t be that guy. Don’t drink and boat.”

“The tragedies that happen on our waterways because individuals choose to boat while impaired are totally preventable,” Lt. Michael Schipritt said.

Data from the Coast Guard shows alcohol use is the leading cause of recreational boating deaths, making up 18% of all recreational boating deaths.

Rhode Island has almost 40,000 registered boats. Under state law, the legal limit (.08 BAC) and penalties are the same for boating and driving under the influence.