CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A 60-year-old man was medevaced by a Coast Guard helicopter crew after they received a report the man sustained significant neck injuries when drinking with a fishing party and diving from a pier in shallow water Friday evening just south of Baffin Bay.
Friends of the victim called the Coast Guard and had difficulty providing a position. Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi launched an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter, whose crew was eventually able to contact them on their marine band radio to locate the position of their fishing lodge.
"This is a severely tragic situation and our thoughts are with the family in hoping for a full recovery," said Lt. Patrick Marshall, the response officer at Sector Corpus Christi. "We hope to avoid further alcohol-related accidents out on and near the water this weekend as we begin our Operation Dry Water Campaign for the southern Texas region. The Coast Guard will be focusing patrols with other local agencies to not only discourage drinking and boating but also promote boater and water safety at all times."
The man was flown to Spohn Memorial Hospital.
The Coast Guard reminds all mariners to do the following before heading out on the water:
* Wear a life jacket at all times
* File a float plan
* Check the weather prior to departing the dock.
* Have a marine-band radio and visual distress signals on board.
* Have a registered 406MHz emergency position indicating radio beacon.
* Have a personal locator beacon.
* Do not boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Coast Guard units and partner agencies will be increasing their presence along the Gulf Coast in support of Operation Dry Water, June 28–30.
Operation Dry Water is an annual nationwide campaign during which federal, state and local maritime agencies take to the water to educate boaters and raise awareness that it is unsafe, as well as illegal, to operate a boat under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
According to 2012 Coast Guard statistics, alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. It was listed as the leading factor in 17 percent of deaths.
States have gotten tougher in recent years in enforcing laws against this high-risk behavior. Operating a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher is against federal and most state laws.
Boaters caught operating under the influence will have their voyage terminated and their vessel impounded. Additionally, penalties can include arrest, fines, loss of boating privileges, even loss of driving privileges.
For more information on Operation Dry Water, visit http://www.operationdrywater.org.
For further information, contact Lt. Cmdr. Brendan Evans at (361) 438-0176.