|Harrisburg, PA – With the summer boating season in full swing, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is reminding vacationers that boating under the influence (BUI) is a serious crime and a threat to public safety, a fact underscored last week when an Clinton County man pleaded “no contest” to criminal charges resulting from a 2009 boat crash that killed a 12-year-old girl.
“Boating under the influence is no different than driving a car after someone’s been drinking,” said PFBC Director of Law Enforcement Tom Kamerzel. “Alcohol impairs an individual’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. For the safety of all individuals on the water, please do not operate your boat, jet ski, canoe or kayak if you’ve been drinking.”
On July 16, John Edward Englert II pleaded "no contest" to numerous criminal charges filed against him as a result of the July 10, 2009, boating crash. The Mill Hall man pleaded "no contest" to five criminal counts, including homicide by vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, two simple assault charges, obstruction of the administration of law, and driving a water craft while under the influence. The homicide by vehicle charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison.
PFBC Waterways Conservation Officer Tom Nunamacher led the investigation and assisted the Clinton County District Attorney’s Office in developing the case. The victim was a passenger on a boat struck by a boat driven by Englert.
Last year, PFBC officers arrested 57 individuals for boating under the influence. So far this year, 24 individuals have been charged with boating under the influence.
“Many boaters may not know that the threshold for BUI is the same as with motor vehicles – 0.08 percent,” added Kamerzel. “Fish and Boat officers regularly patrol waterways. If officers suspect someone is boating under the influence, they can arrest the individual on the spot.”
The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities.