Drunk Boater Narrowly Misses Coast Guard Vessel

Coast Guard arrests a drunken boater (USCG file image)

By The Maritime Executive 2016-07-21 21:32:42

On Wednesday night, a boater was arrested for operating a watercraft while intoxicated when he came within feet of striking a Coast Guard vessel. 

A large USCG boat and a helicopter were conducting a rescue swimmer exercise two miles off of Kenosha, Illinois at 2200 hours Wednesday, with a safety perimeter zone set up. 

A motorboat allegedly operated by Jason Staton, 43, approached and passed by the Coast Guard vessel at 30 knots, coming to within roughly 20 yards.

The helicopter tracked the boat and the surface unit eventually boarded it and arrested Staton. He was handed over to the county sherriff on shore; the deputy's report said that Staton had a 0.23 percent blood alcohol level at the time of arrest, nearly three times the legal limit for driving a car, and "appeared to be unable to understand he had nearly struck a very large USCG vessel."

Separately, the Coast Guard in St. Louis, Missouri are searching for a kayaker who was last seen at 0405 hours the morning of July 21, when he hit the tow lines between two barges and fell into the water.

Employees at Gasconade Fleeting Services called the Coast Guard; Lt. Sean Haley reported that the barge workers had thrown a line to the man, but he never came back up. 

The Coast Guard said in a statement that the man was not wearing a life jacket. The man's kayak and other items were found downstream towards 0500 hours.

Multiple agencies are involved in the search, including the local police, fire department, the state patrol, the Coast Guard and a county air unit.