SEATTLE – A Coast Guard Station Seattle boatcrew assisted Bainbridge Island Police officers in the arrest of a Bellevue man for boating while under the influence in Elliot Bay Sunday night.
The Station Seattle crew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat Medium was able to make contact with the impaired boat driver and tow his vessel to Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island where he failed a field sobriety test conducted by Bainbridge Island Police officers and was subsequently taken into custody.
“Operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol and drugs creates a danger for both the boater and others on the water,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron McNeal, Sector Puget Sound operations specialist and search and rescue coordinator. “As the passenger in this case called for help, we encourage everyone to report anyone suspected of operating under the influence. Just like operating a car, it is illegal to operate a boat while intoxicated or otherwise impaired.”
Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound watchstanders received a call for help at 7:30 p.m. from a female passenger aboard the 30-foot pleasure craft stating that the male operator was intoxicated and the boat was drifting in Elliott Bay.
The Station Seattle RBM crew was launched to investigate. Directed to the boat by observations from the crew of the Washington State Ferry Tacoma, the boatcrew was able to locate the vessel after it had regained propulsion and was reportedly driven erratically towards Eagle Harbor.
In addition to being arrested for operating under the influence, several safety violations were found aboard the boat, including no fire extinguisher and the absence of a type IV throw able floatation device.
The female passenger, who had reported the impaired boat operator, was provided transportation to the ferry terminal where she returned to Seattle.
For information about federal and state laws regarding boating under the influence please visit the following links: