Drunk boaters arrested during sweep

Operation Dry Water, a nationwide crackdown on drunk boaters, resulted in 11 arrests on state waterways during the weekend of June 22-24, according to the Ohio DNR's watercraft division.

Watercraft officers also issued 85 citations for other alcohol and boating violations during the weekend, including nine drug-related violations.

Ironically, watercraft officers investigated two alcohol-related incidents, including a fatality, during Operation Dry Water weekend.

On June 22, a 19-year-old Maumee man died after diving from an anchored pontoon boat into a shallow section of the Maumee River. The incident occurred off Walbridge Park in South Toledo.

Drew Cleghorn died of multiple neck fractures after diving head first into only 2 feet of water. Cleghorn's blood-alcohol level was 0.2 – more than twice the legal limit, according to the Lucas County coroner's office.

On the same day, U.S. Coast Guard personnel and watercraft officers responded to a missing person report in Lake Erie near Marblehead Lighthouse. A man said he and a friend fell off a personal watercraft and the friend disappeared under the surface. That turned out to be false.

The friend actually fell off the craft in the area of Kelley's Island and was rescued by a passing Good Samaritan. His buddy, who led responders on the wild goose chase that involved two Coast Guard vessels and a helicopter, was later cited for OVI and obstructing official business.

While some may say "beer and boats go together," statistics indicate otherwise. Alcohol is a factor in about one-third of Ohio's boating accidents. The standard for drunk boating in Ohio is the same as drunk driving. Boat operators are legally drunk if their blood-alcohol content is .08 or above.

Categories: Ohio – Jane Beathard

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