Data loading...

Drunken Tuna Captain Rescued From Sinking Vessel

A 52 year-old man is to be charged with boating under the influence of alcohol after his boat sank with nearly a ton of tuna onboard, alerting U.S. Coast Guards to the incident about 25 miles west of Ilwaco, Washington.

The Ilwaco man, Craig Lewis was rescued by helicopter early Sunday morning after his vessel, Charlie & Carol began to take on water and his pump was unable to keep up with the rate that the water was coming in at.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nate Littlejohn said that the cause for the vessel taking on water and sinking was still unclear, but Lewis claimed that that it struck an unknown object.

The Sector launched a helicopter crew from Air Station Astoria and a 47-foot motor lifeboat crew from Station Cape Disappointment in Ilwaco, which lifted Lewis from the sinking vessel that was abandoned.

“He stayed at Cape D through the night until he was sober enough,” said Littlejohn.

Even though Lewis refused to be breath tested for alcohol, the Coast Guard expected him of being intoxicated, and he is being charged with boating under the influence (BUI) which can carry penalties including large fines, revocation of operator privileges and even serious jail sentences.

This is one of the first major BUI cases since Valeriy Sharykin, the captain of a vessel in Portland who pled guilty to being under the influence of alcohol when operating the boat in April.

Sharykin was sentenced to two years of probation, during which he is barred from sailing U.S. waters. He also paid a USD 1,000 fine to the court and another USD 1,000 to an alcohol treatment facility.