Northeastern Ohio Coast Guard unit cites boaters for boating under the influence

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CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard and the Mentor–on-the-Lake, Ohio, police cited a boater for operating a boat under the influence of alcohol and cited another passenger on the boat for simple possession, Thursday afternoon, in the vicinity of Mentor Harbor.

At about 2 p.m., while conducting a recreational safety boarding, a boarding team member from Coast Guard Station Fairport, Ohio, noticed empty beer cans in the boat. Upon further questioning of the boaters, the boarding team member determined it was necessary to issue a field sobriety test to the operator of the vessel.

The boarding team took the vessel in question in a side tow and moored at the Mentor Harbor Yatch Club. After conducting the field sobriety test, it was determined that the boat operator was indeed operating a motor vessel while under the influence of alcohol. During a routine check of the other passengers, a safety procedure, the boarding team found that one of them had a pipe and marijuana in his possession.

Officers from the Mentor-on-the-Lake Police Department were called to the scene to assist in the citing. The police officers issued a civil fine to the individual with the marijuana and paraphernalia, while the boarding team member issued a notice of violation to the boat operator for boating under the influence.

The Coast Guard took these actions just one day before the 3-day law enforcement initiative known as Operation Dry Water.

“Operation Dry Water is a national multi-agency operation focused on deterring boating under the influence,” said Chief Petty Officer Nicholas Alphonso, officer-in-charge of Station Fairport. “The main objective of ODW is reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities and fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water. If you are boating under the influence, we will find you. We would rather cite you for a violation and get you off of the water, than have to tell your family you’ve been killed in a boating accident.”

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