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Local ‘dry water’ campaign nets arrest

By Merab-Michal Favorite, Islander Reporter

Local participation in a national event designed to crack down on boating under the influence netted one arrest.

Seven other boaters received citations for safety violations during Operation Dry Water, which was conducted nationwide June 27-29.

During the weekend, law enforcement officers at local, state and federal levels were on heightened alert for those violating boating-under-the-influence laws.

Locally, one man was arrested June 28 for allegedly boating under the influence.

Christopher James Callahan, 20, 100 block of Crescent Drive, Anna Maria, ran his boat aground at 8:30 p.m., according to a report from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

The U.S. Coast Guard pulled Callahan over after allegedly observing him drive the boat aground, struggle to get off the shoal, then swerve while leaving.

A Coast Guard officer observed Callahan stumble and slur his words. So he had Callahan perform a sobriety test designed for boaters. The officer believed the results showed Callahan to be under the influence and he asked Callahan to pull his boat to a nearby boat ramp.

According to the report, Callahan bumped his vessel into the side of a concrete seawall and almost walked off the pier.

At that point, an MCSO deputy intervened and Callahan was given another sobriety test, which authorities said he failed.

Callahan was taken to Manatee County jail, where he was released the next day on a $500 bond.

Nationwide thousands of law enforcement officers were out on the water during Operation Dry Water.

“The mission of Operation Dry Water and the law enforcement officers who participate is to reduce the number of alcohol- and drug-related deaths on the water,” John Fetterman, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators Deputy Executive Director, said in a news release. “Boating should be a fun and enjoyable time spent with friends and family. We are asking that boaters make sure their voyage remains enjoyable by boating sober. Too many accidents and deaths are caused by those who choose to boat under the influence.”

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