Boating Under the Influence Already a Big Issue in 2011

It’s not even summer yet, and already boater’s up north are being cited over and over again for boating under the influence. Let’s be safe people!

Recent incidents on western Lake Erie and Lake Ontario should serve to remind boaters of the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Last Sunday, a Coast Guard boarding team from Coast Guard Station Oswego, N.Y., boarded a recreational vessel in Sodus Bay and determined through field sobriety tests and the use of a breathalyzer that the vessel operator was legally intoxicated. The operator was cited for boating under the influence.

Between April 6 and 8, 2011, boatcrews from Coast Guard Station Marblehead, Ohio, were underway conducting patrols near East Harbor and twice came upon vessels that were transiting through no-wake zones at a high rate of speed and failed to stop when ordered to do so. In both situations, Coast Guard law enforcement officers, working with members of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, cited both vessel operators for boating under the influence.

The Ninth Coast Guard District encourages all boaters to have safe fun on the water and reminds boaters to designate a sober operator and never operate a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Boating Under the Influence is a nation-wide problem with deadly consequences. In the marine environment, stressors such as noise, wind, sun and wave action can accelerate the effects of impairment, increasing the likelihood of a serious boating accident. Furthermore, passengers under the influence are at increased risk of an unexpected fall overboard while the vessel is underway, adrift or at anchor. Many of these unexpected falls overboard result in the death of the victim, usually by drowning.

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