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'Operation Dry Water' takes place on the lakes

Detroit Lakes -- With the Fourth of July holiday fast approaching, area law enforcement will be cracking down on drinking and boating on area lakes.

This weekend, the Minnesota DNR along with county water patrol units, will activate what is being called: "Operation Dry Water."

One Detroit Lakes woman knows all too well the sad reality of a great afternoon on the lake that turned into a tragic loss.

On a day like today ... the beaches in Detroit Lakes attract the sun seekers. And boats skim across the big lake, days before the holiday crowd invades the lakes for the July 4th holiday. But Mary Ellegaard of Detroit Lakes knows too well...

A lot of this woulda coulda shoulda, what could have we done more?

The feeling of loss on the lake. It was nearly a year ago, that rescuers searched for her husband Barry's body. This after a tragic boating accident on Long Lake just outside the city.

Mary Beth Ellegaard, lost her husband one year ago and says, "Things can happen so quickly in a split second where lives are changed forever."

With alcohol involved in half the 16 boating deaths in Minnesota last year, the DNR says it would rather arrest a drunk boating driver than knock the door of a family to say a loved one has died.

Cody Bouchie, with the Becker County Sheriff's Department Water Patrol, says "whatever you do, your judgment, your motor skills, your ability to drive a boat, your mental acuity is not there."

Ellegaard hopes her story of loss will make others in the coming days, think twice about safety and alcohol use while boating.

Impaired boaters can be fined $1,000 and serve possible jail time. They can also lose their boat and boating privileges for 90 days.

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