Boozing Boaters Berated by Coast Guard as SC Couple Dies

By Jason Gotlieb 07/27/11

Summer sailors ignore the law, leading to citations and deaths.

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The US Coast Guard has urged boaters to refrain from using drugs and alcohol on the water, as the deaths of a South Carolina couple starkly underlined the point. Timothy Jones died with his partner Kimberly Bailey on Friday, after the boat he was driving on Lake Murray crashed into a dock. This week the coroner reported that Jones had a blood alcohol content of 0.357 and Bailey one of 0.187. Blood alcohol above 0.08 makes you legally impaired, which makes operating a vehicle (including a boat) illegal. "Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs is extremely dangerous in addition to being illegal," said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew White, Assistant Chief of the 9th Coast Guard District Enforcement Branch. "It can also result in significant fines and land you in jail." The Coast Guard has been cracking down on wasted boaters and has issued 19 boating-under-the-influence-citations to vessel operators on the Great Lakes in the past few weeks. In addition, nine underage teens were found to be intoxicated after being rescued from their sinking craft. Boating under the influence increases the risk of capsizing or falling overboard. Drunk people who fall overboard tend not to be wearing life-jackets and nearly one in five boating accidents is credited to drug and alcohol abuse.

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Jason Gotlieb is a programmer, software developer, and writer living in New York. You can find him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.