Alcohol remains the leading factor in deadly boating accidents, according to a new report by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Ahead of the July 4th weekend, authorities are stressing the dangers of boating under the influence.

They say it's the perfect time to remind everyone that alcohol and boating do not mix.

Statistics show over 20 percent of boating fatalities are alcohol-related.

Whether it's alcohol or drugs, boating while impaired is a crime which carries similar penalties as a DUI on the road.

"There's a loss of your boating privileges, same fines, including jail time," said Carbon County's district attorney, Michael Greek.

While boating is an activity to be enjoyed, officers say it can quickly turn dangerous if not done responsibly.

"Most people fail to realize, boats don't have brakes. You cannot just stop a boat on the water at quick notice," said Scott Christman, a waterways conservation officer with the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.

And you don't have to be operating a boat to get in trouble.

"A person can be arrested for boating under the influence whether they're in an inflatable watercraft going down the Lehigh River, or if they're in a canoe or a kayak," said Christman.

As the COVID-19 pandemic turns even more people toward the water, authorities are prepared for the potential dangers of this year's holiday.

"People are looking for different activities you can do, rather than go on vacation or go out to some place where it's crowded. Here you can be out on a boat by yourself and be away from that. You're going to see an increase in boating under the influence," said Greek.

A new bill has been introduced in Harrisburg which aims for stricter BUI laws in Pennsylvania.

There will be increased patrols out on local waterways, including at Beltzville Lake, throughout the upcoming holiday weekend.