Drunken Boaters Drawing Extra Attention From Massachusetts Harbormasters

Now that summer is in full swing, hitting the water has become an almost weekly regimen for many recreational boaters in Massachusetts and around the country. Unfortunately, as nice as it can be to cool off in the water on a hot summer day, the increased traffic on the water often leads to an increase in recreational boating accidents and fatalities as well.

According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, alcohol is the leading contributor to recreational boating fatalities nationwide, with 109 deaths in boating accidents last year attributed to alcohol use. With that in mind, local harbormasters in Massachusetts are making an extra effort to keep an eye out for drunken boaters.

The Patriot Ledger reported that last month when the Coast Guard had to stop and board a boat returning from Provincetown for speeding into North River, the man piloting the boat, who appeared to have been drinking, told them he thought he was pulling into Green Harbor, which is well to the south of North River.

“How do you confuse Green Harbor with the North River?” Marshfield Harbormaster Michael DiMeo said. “That shows the level of impairment.”

The last fatal boat accident attributed to alcohol between Boston and Plymouth occurred in 2011. Still, as long as there are impaired boaters on the water, it is only a matter of time.

“You get out in the sun and you’re thirsty, and then you drink more than you might normally drink,” said Rosemary Lesch, a Rockport harbormaster and president of the Massachusetts Harbormasters Association. “Then, with the heat and the motion of the boat and all of those things, it inhibits your ability to operate a vessel safely.”

The Jones Act attorneys at Latti & Anderson, LLP have been representing the victims of maritime accidents for over 50 years. If you or a loved one are suffering because of an accident caused by a drunken boater, our Boston maritime attorneys may be able to help you. For more information or to discuss your case, contact us today at (800) 392-6072 for a free consultation.

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Latti & Anderson’s Little Extra: A boat operator with a BAC above .10 is more than 10 times as likely to die in a boating accident.