Cleveland man convicted and sentenced for boating under the influence

CLEVELAND — Steven M. Dettelbach, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Rear Adm. Michael N. Parks, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, announce today that a Cleveland area resident pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to boating under the influence of alcohol.

Mark H. Hornblower, 49, of Cleveland, was sentenced to two months of home detention and three years of supervised release and was fined $1,500 after pleading guilty in federal court.

On June 26, 2010, Hornblower operated a recreational vessel on the Cuyahoga River while under the influence of alcohol, according to court documents.

“When mariners boat under the influence, it puts all those around them at significant risk,” said Captain Stephen Torpey, chief of Incident Management for the Ninth Coast Guard District. “We want mariners to enjoy our nation’s waterways but to do it safely and responsibly. The Coast Guard will continue to work closely with federal, state and local partners to ensure the safety of those on the water.”

Alcohol affects judgment, vision, balance and coordination. These impairments increase the likelihood of accidents afloat – for both passengers and boat operators. U.S. Coast Guard data shows that, in boating deaths involving alcohol use, over half the victims capsized their boats and/or fell overboard.

Alcohol is even more hazardous on the water than on land. The marine environment – motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray – accelerates a drinker’s impairment. These stressors cause fatigue that makes a boat operator’s coordination, judgment and reaction time decline even faster when using alcohol.

When the Coast Guard determines that an operator is impaired, the voyage may be terminated. The vessel will be brought to mooring by the Coast Guard or a competent and un-intoxicated person on board the recreational vessel. Depending on the circumstances, the Coast Guard may arrest the operator, detain the operator until sober, or turn the operator over to state or local authorities.

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