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Officials Reminding Boaters To Drink Responsibly This Holiday Weekend

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)-- Boating season is going full-throttle this holiday weekend.

"If you've got a boat you're gonna want to go out there and use it," Yonkers boater Lou Jankovic told CBS2's Brian Conybeare.

And most boaters bring along a well-packed cooler.

Ed Yuhas of Yonkers and his friends are heading up the busy Hudson River to Saugerties for a July 4th celebration. But he said he has one simple rule.

"If I'm driving, I'm not drinking-- the other people that's fine," Yuhas said.

Unfortunately, not everyone does the same. In fact, alcohol is the leading cause of deadly boating accidents in New York, with 57 fatal crashes in the past 10 years blamed on boozed up boaters.

Experts said exposure to the sun and the movement of a boat on the water can actually magnify the effects of alcohol on your body.

"Your judgment is greatly impaired, your vision is impaired," Lt. James Luciano said.

Luciano is head of the Westchester County Police Marine Unit, which has stepped up enforcement along with the U.S. Coast Guard. His biggest worry this weekend: local fireworks displays over the Hudson shoreline.

"People are drinking and when the show is over there's a mass exodus and that's when we're worried about people colliding," he explained.

Jankovic docks his boat in Tarrytown and said he got stopped while out with friends Wednesday night for a police safety and sobriety check.

"Making sure there aren't any open containers, that the driver's drinking... and I passed!" he said proudly.  "You just have to be responsible."

Officials are reminding everyone to have a fun and safe weekend on the water.

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