Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Not Cool

I wrote last year about a terrible accident on Narragansett Bay in which two young women were killed during a midnight joyride in a powerboat. Now comes news that the young man who was driving the boat that night has been sentenced to 15 years after pleading no contest to reckless boating and boating under the influence, both with death resulting.

Yesterday I wrote a post in jest about Beer and Sailing, but drinking to excess before and during boating is no joke. Apparently the group of five young people involved in this tragedy drank before driving to the marina in Portsmouth to pick up the boat, they drank on the boat ride over to East Greenwich, and they drank again at a bar in East Greenwich. They then headed back to Portsmouth around 1 a.m. on a very dark night, and reached speeds of 39 mph with no GPS and no charts. The boat flipped over when it hit some rocks and landed upside down. Perhaps even more shocking, the young man at the wheel had been convicted two years before for a drunk-driving offence on the road!

Play safe out there kiddies. Boating while drunk is not cool.


Baydog said...

While I agree with you that drinking while boating is not cool, in my opinion the problem boaters are probably going to be the ones operating motorboats and jetskis. At 9 or 10 in the morning on any given weekend we'll be passed while going out the Forked River channel by motorboaters on their way out for a day on the bay, many of them already holding beers. And many of them will drink all day long. I'm not saying the sailors don't have coolers with beers in them, but I believe they're much less likely to go speeding into rocks or other boats. On the whole I think drinking sailors are less dangerous than drinking powerboaters, but it's definitely safer to wait until you get home that night to start pounding.

Tillerman said...

I agree Baydog. It's the combination of speed and alcohol that is deadly. I'm not sure that sailors always manage to avoid the rocks, but if a sailboat going at say 6 knots had hit those rocks I doubt that anyone would have been killed.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

"A Good Start"

That's generally what I call any wreck of a power boat, excepting for lives lost among innocent passengers and bystanders, of course.

As I have always said, there's a world of difference between power boats and sailboats. Power boaters are not truly aware that they have left land. Sailors understand how different their aquatic milieu is from road and off-road environments.

As far as sailors and beer is concerned: I sailed Lasers for a decade and a half with a few cans in my cockpit. I've always raced keel boats with a full ice chest and whenever the spinnaker is up, when any aboard feels a frosty will improve their performance and concentration, they know they're entitled.

I support legislation barring power boats from DUI-ing. But any one who wants to take a cold one from me will have to pry my cold dead fingers off that can.

Baydog said...

Dad, is that you? Dad?

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Yo! Son!

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