MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After several high-profile boating deaths, police are showing boaters they are not going to tolerate anyone operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol.
There were 62 boating deaths in South Florida in 2013, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Alcohol was suspected to have played a role in some of the accidents.
The Miami-Dade Police Department’s Marine Patrol was testing anyone suspected to be boating while drunk Sunday.
“I thought this was ‘Cops’,” said one man as he sang song lyrics known to police. “Bad boys, bad boys. What you going to do? What you gonna do when they come for you,” the man sang while police were at his boat.
Alcohol was on the boat, however, after the captain was given a field sobriety test, it was determined that he was sober. Police believe their presence on the water alone is a deterrent.
“The word will get out that we’re going to stop you,” said Lupo Jimenez with the Miami-Dade Police Department. “If you’ve been drinking and you’re operating a boat, we’re going to handle it the same way we would handle a DUI.”
Alcohol is suspected in this year’s single-most deadly boating crash in Miami-Dade County waters.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission officials said it is investigating the crash that killed the boat’s operator, Andrew Garcia and three other people after the Fourth of July fireworks.
Garcia’s blood alcohol level hasn’t been released.
It’s only illegal for the boat’s operator to drink.
“I would just say know your limits and always have somebody, just like when you’re driving, somebody around that might not be drinking,” said Gregorio Cabam.
For boaters with children, the presence of police on the water helps them deal with fears a drunk driver on another boat might turn a happy day on the water into a tragedy.
“You’re always concerned with that, especially when you got kids,” said Cabam.
A week ago, a father of four died when his boat crashed into a pier a pier at Pelican Harbor and ended up in the water.
Police have not released information about what caused that crash.
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