Authorities going after drunk boaters for 4th of July

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 A Coast Guard member boards a boat in a drill for stopping BUI (Boating Under Influence). (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

A Coast Guard member boards a boat in a drill for stopping BUI (Boating Under Influence). (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

For some, having a drink on a boat might be an essential part of celebrating the 4th of July, but law enforcement plans crackdowns on both the roads and the waves over the coming holiday weekend.

 

 

 

The Philadelphia Police, U.S. Coast Guard and others are teaming up to make sure people don’t drink and boat.  Police Marine Unit Lt. Andrew Napoli says fines for drinking at the helm can be as bad or tougher for being intoxicated behind the steering wheel.

 

“Operating a boat while intoxicated is just as dangerous as operating a car while intoxicated,” Napoli said.  “We’ve seen many fatalities on the rivers through the years.  So we want you remain safe, enjoy the waters and remain sober.”

 

Chris Weersing says driving and crashing his car intoxicated put him in a coma for a week and cost him a career as a teacher. He now works at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital and says he could have lost much more.

 

“About 90 percent of the people with the brain injury I have remain in a severe vegetive state and those who do wake up have severe cognitive impairments,” Weersing said.

 

Law enforcement plans to monitor every form of travel in the upcoming weeks…even people bicycling while under the influence.

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