According to Marshfield Harbormaster Mike Dimeo, drinking alcohol on an anchored boat is no different than public drinking which is an arrestable offense.
“The vessel doesn’t have to be operated. Obviously there’s discretion at sea, I mean we don’t have a bunch of patrol cars on the ocean versus on land. So discretion does come into the play the main thing is getting people home safely so you don’t have problems,” says Dimeo.
Marshfield has three patrol vessels; but Dimeo says most of their drunk driving finds are reported by other boaters.
Recently, a woman was arrested for a fifth OUI offense after getting her boat stuck in the South River. But boat or car, offenses eventually hold the same prison penalty.
“If you have three OUIs in a vehicle, the fourth one is going to attach as well so it would be [your] fourth OUI. So they’re all kind of combined together for OUIs,” says Dimeo.
The Marshfield Harbormaster warns that boating is a greater risk than operating other motor vehicles because of weather conditions and the lack of traffic direction, “Do due diligence especially with children onboard. Take a boater safety course if not ask help. You should have some common sense before you even hit the water about what’s going on, the buoy types, where you’re going, how to read a chart, know the tides, know the weather, and know how to get back home. It’s a huge issue in the water; it really is,”
He says he’s behind the effort of Leanne Woods to establish a state law requiring everyone on a moving boat to wear a life jacket. Woods’ son, Zac, died in a tragic boating accident last summer.
Marshfield Town Pier