Perhaps the conversation among these boaters this past weekend went something like this:
“Hey guys, I have some bad news and I have some good news. Bad news is that we are out of gas and running low on beer. Good news is that there is a US Coast Guard boat over there, let’s flag them down for help.”
NEW YORK – The Coast Guard terminated the voyage of a recreational vessel operator for boating under the influence of alcohol in the Great South Bay, N.Y., last Saturday.
An underway rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Fire Island, N.Y., was waved down by three people in a 22-foot vessel, adrift and out of gas, at approximately 8 p.m.
The Coast Guard boarding officer recognized the three persons as being heavily intoxicated after pulling alongside the vessel. The boarding team conducted field sobriety tests and administrated a chemical breath analyzer test to both the boat operator and his passengers, which they all failed.
The vessel owner was cited for boating under the influence of alcohol. In addition, the boarding team conducted a vessel safety check and cited the vessel owner for failing to equip his vessel with navigational lights, Type IV personal flotation device and for having unserviceable life jackets.
A Suffolk County, N.Y., Police Marine unit, also on scene, took the vessel in tow and moored it at a marina, where the vessel remained over night.
Consumption of alcohol can be especially hazardous on the water. The marine environment – motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray – causes additional fatigue that can impair a boat operator’s coordination, judgment and reaction time even further. These impairments increase the likelihood of accidents afloat – for both passengers and boat operators.