Intoxicated boater hits buoy near Grand Haven

25 Rio VistaCLEVELAND — U.S. Coast Guard crews conducted a safety boarding on a vessel who’s operator appeared to be intoxicated late Wednesday evening in Muskegon Lake.

“Many recreational boaters forget that a boat is a vehicle, and that safe operation is a legal and personal responsibility,” said Cmdr. Leanne Lusk, chief of response at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan. “According to the U.S. Coast Guard, a boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration above .10 percent is estimated to be more than 10 times as likely to die in a boating accident than an operator with zero blood alcohol concentration.”

Just after 11:30 p.m., watchstanders at Sector Lake Michigan in Milwaukee received a report from a good Samaritan that a 24-foot boat had hit Grand River Buoy 3. The vessel then turned and headed toward Lake Michigan.

Sector Lake Michigan directed a crew from Coast Guard Station Grand Haven, Michigan, to respond aboard a 25-foot response boat. Before arriving on scene, Station Grand Haven contacted a crew from Coast Guard Station/Aids-to-Navigation Team Muskegon, Michigan, which was in the area conducting training.

The Station Muskegon crew spotted the vessel and questioned the operator, who appeared to be intoxicated.

Shortly afterward, the crew from Station Grand Haven arrived on scene and towed the vessel to STANT Muskegon, where the operator admitted he hit the buoy and was the only person aboard. The man failed the field sobriety tests administered by the crew and a breath analysis test revealed that his blood-alcohol content was .085.

The man was turned over to Muskegon Public Safety. There were no reports of injury or pollution.

The Coast Guard reminds mariners of the dangers impaired boating poses to vessel operators, passengers and everyone in the vicinity.

More information about the dangers of boating under the influence is available in a Coast Guard Compass blog post here.

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