Coast Guard crew catches drunken boaters, help save child in Manasquan, NJ

5th Coast Guard District News
MANASQUAN INLET, N.J. – Coast Guard Station Manasquan Inlet boarding team members apprehended a drunken boater at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday before assisting a child who appeared to suffer a seizure on the side of the road in Point Pleasant Beach.

The station’s boarding team conducted a routine safety inspection aboard a 26-foot pleasure craft in the Manasquan River. In addition to not having enough life jackets on the boat, the boarding team realized six of the seven people aboard appeared to be intoxicated. They also noticed several empty beer cans in the boat.

“Drinking while on the water is extremely dangerous,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Wishnoff, a Station Manasquan Inlet crewmember. “ It is illegal in every state to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol is dangerous for everyone aboard, including passengers. If someone falls overboard, the inner ear disturbance caused by alcohol can make it impossible for a person suddenly immersed in water to distinguish up from down.”

The boat’s operator blew a .18 reading on a breathalyzer test, and the voyage was terminated. The one sober passenger aboard the boat drove it to a nearby marina. Boarding team members transferred the operator to the Point Pleasant Police Department where he was arrested.

While driving to the police department, two Coast Guardsmen noticed a crowd on a street corner surrounding a boy who appeared to be about five years old lying on the ground. His mother said she believed he suffered a seizure.

Petty Officer Wishnoff immediately secured the scene while Petty Officer 3rd Class John Baldauf, the Coast Guard station’s lead emergency medical technician, assisted the boy’s mother in getting the child into the recovery position to keep his airway open and prevent him from chocking on his saliva. Baldauf evaluated the child by taking his pulse and monitoring his rapid breathing until local police and emergency medical technicians arrived. The boy was taken to the hospital.

“This was a situation where Baldauf and I used our maritime search and rescue training to serve the community on land,” said Wishnoff. “Between getting the drunken boaters off the water and helping this young boy, I feel like we may have saved some lives this weekend”

Penalties for boating under the influence vary by state, but can include fines, jail, loss of boating privileges, and even loss of vehicle driving privileges.

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