Suffolk County cracks down on drunken boating

September 1, 2012 8:16:34 AM PDT
Suffolk County officials saY they will set up checkpoints to crack down on boating while intoxicated this weekend.

"Some would believe that being on the water operating a boat is different from operating a motor vehicle on land," Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. "But on the highways and on the water, we will be out in force."

Suffolk County police set up boater checkpoints for the first time last weekend and will have them up again over the Labor Day holiday.

Police Commissioner Edward Webber said his department has made 15 boating while intoxicated arrests this year, more than in the last three years combined.

Police were spurred to act after June 23 when a West Islip man drowned when a powerboat police said was operated by an intoxicated boater broadsided his shark-fishing boat.

Webber said waterways are harder to police than roads. He said police look for areas where large numbers of boats have gathered and interview the operators.

The officials spoke at a news conference in the hamlet of Great River on the south shore of Long Island.

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