A drunken boater was seen passed out behind the wheel Tuesday as his fishing boat barreled toward a Pinellas public beach filled with swimmers, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office reported.
The incident occurred on Tuesday in the waters near Madeira Beach, deputies said. A sheriff’s office helicopter located the boat, which was “making its way toward a public swimming beach” while the operator was “unconscious and slumped over at the helm,” sheriff’s office spokesperson Sgt. Amanda Sinni said in a post on the agency’s Facebook page.
When two sheriff’s office boats arrived, the driver of the boat was conscious, but was disoriented and showed signs of impairment, Sinni said in the post.
A passenger also was “unresponsive” on the deck of the boat, Sinni said.
“How much have you had to drink?” one deputy asks the boat’s operator.
“We don’t have no alcohol,” the man responds, according to dash cam video.
“I’m looking at an empty beer can,” the deputy responds.
The boater then looks down and appears to say: “S---.”
A deputy also asked the boater where he parked.
“The Alafia River off 41,” the man says, referring to the river that runs through Hillsborough County.
“The Alafia River? Do you know where you are now?” the deputy responds.
Replies the man: “Right now I think we’re way out of the way.”
The man was taken to shore, where he performed poorly on field sobriety tests. He was arrested on a charge of boating under the influence.