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LEGAL: Beware of BUI

Published on April 18th, 2013

A Coast Guard law enforcement team ended three people’s recreational boat outing and issued the first federal tickets of the 2013 Great Lakes boating season during a routine boarding operation on the Detroit River in the vicinity of Wyandotte, Mich., late Tuesday night.

At around 11:40 p.m., a law enforcement team from Coast Guard Station Belle Isle in Detroit, aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small, boarded a 16-foot Starcraft with three people aboard. Upon boarding the recreational boat, the boarding officer noticed that the boat operator appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.

The law enforcement team then connected the recreational boat to the Coast Guard boat in a side-tow. During the side-tow, one of the passengers aboard the Starcraft became non-compliant and was detained.

The law enforcement team conducted field sobriety tests at the pier, where the blood alcohol content of the boat operator was .116 percent. Much like on the road, the legal BAC is .08 percent. Federal ticket procedures were initiated by Coast Guard Sector Detroit for both the boat operator (BUI) and the non-compliant passenger (assault) after local authorities declined to take the boaters into custody.

“Boating under the influence is just as dangerous as driving under the influence, and just as illegal,” said Coast Guard Captain Jeff Ogden, commander, Sector Detroit. “Our intent is to prosecute every boating under the influence violation at either the local or the federal level. Drinking and boating puts entire families at risk. We won’t tolerate it and we hope that boaters won’t tolerate it either. If you suspect someone is operating a vessel under the influence, call 911 or the Coast Guard and help us keep the waters safe for those who work and recreate on the Great Lakes.”

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