2 charged with BWI near Ocean Beach
Two men were arrested and charged with boating while intoxicated near Ocean Beach in the Great South Bay early Sunday, a day after a West Islip man was killed when his vessel was hit by an intoxicated boater, Suffolk police said.
The arrests and the fatal crash occurred even as authorities held a nationwide law enforcement effort to educate boaters about the dangers of boating while intoxicated in advance of the July Fourth holiday.
The Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau had been conducting a vessel inspection on a boat Sunday when officers found that the operator, Michael Shear, 29, of Holtsville, appeared intoxicated.
Shear was arrested and charged with boating while intoxicated. The other passengers in the boat then told officers that Shear had switched positions with another operator of the boat when police approached.
Police then spoke to the man they believe to be the original operator, Olimpio Rego, 26, of Ronkonkoma, and arrested him on a charge of boating while intoxicated.
Shear and Rego were taken to the Third Precinct and were arraigned and released on bail Sunday. The boat was impounded.
Early Saturday, Christopher Mannino, 39, died after he fell in the waters off Captree Island when the 38-foot fishing boat he was on was broadsided by a powerboat that police said was operated by an intoxicated boater.
The operator of the powerboat, Brian Andreski, 26, of Dix Hills, was arrested and charged with boating while intoxicated. Andreski was injured and was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, where he was listed in stable condition Sunday.
No court date had been scheduled.
The arrests came during the "Operation Dry Water" weekend, an annual nationwide initiative to educate boaters about the dangers of boating while intoxicated.
Erik Swanson, petty officer with the U.S. Coast Guard Sector New York, said the danger of boating while drinking or using drugs is underestimated.
"There are so many different elements that play into how well an operator can conduct themselves on the water," Swanson said. "Drinking, being impaired, can really hurt them in the long run."
Nearly 20 percent of boating fatalities are due to alcohol use, according to the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
With Tania Lopez
and Marina Villeneuve