Intoxicated boater hits buoy near Grand Haven, later arrested

GRAND HAVEN — After a boat hit a buoy in the Grand Haven channel late Wednesday night, it headed north and was later stopped and boarded by the U.S. Coast Guard in Muskegon Lake, where the boater was subsequently arrested for operating while intoxicated.

The Coast Guard received a report from a citizen shortly after 11:30 p.m. that a 24-foot boat had hit Grand River buoy 3. The vessel then turned and headed toward Lake Michigan.

A crew from Station Grand Haven responded aboard a 25-foot response boat. A crew from the Muskegon station was in the area conducting training and spotted the suspect boat and questioned the operator, who appeared to be intoxicated.

Shortly afterward, the crew from Station Grand Haven arrived and towed the vessel to the Muskegon aids-to-navigation station, where the operator admitted he hit the buoy and was the only person aboard. The man failed field sobriety tests administered by the Coast Guard crew. A breath analysis test revealed that his blood-alcohol content was 0.085, the Coast Guard said.

The man was turned over to Muskegon public safety officers. The man’s name was not released.

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

“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 0.10 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.”



Posted by Tribune News Services

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