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Man arrested for driving packed boat drunk

August 7, 2012 3:13:25 PM PDT
There has been another overcrowded boat incident on Long Island.

This time the boat was filled with kids and the adult driver was busted for being drunk.

A 22-foot boat was jammed with 18 people on board and16 of them were children.

Police say they stopped the boat because the driver appeared intoxicated.

It happened in Greenport near the breakwater exactly one month after three children drowned off Long Island, in a yacht packed with people.

People at the town beach in Greenport couldn't believe what they saw on Sunday afternoon; a 22-foot boat with 16 children on board, 18 people total.

Police say the man operating the boat, 37-year-old Charles Miller of Manhasset, was drunk.

"Just the sheer numbers and the fact that somebody intoxicated was operating the boat, could've been a tragedy," said Chief Martin Flatley, Southold Police.

Still fresh in their minds was the tragedy in Oyster Bay just one month ago, when three children drowned after a boat carrying 27 people capsized.

So as people watched all children aboard Miller's boat with rough weather on the way, they were stunned.

"He's a danger to people in the water and there was a lot of little children on the boat, there's a lot of people on the boat," said Cathy Tsongos, a Greenport beachgoer.

"That's absolutely horrible, and they should take his boating license and he should never go into a boat again," said Joan Rosa, a Greenport beachgoer.

Tuesday, lawmaker's in Suffolk County introduced new legislation that if passed would require all those operating boats to be certified.

"Coast Guard statistics say, that there's been a 15 percent increase in boating fatalities last year over the year before so this is an ever-growing problem," said Steve Stern, a Suffolk County Legislator.

Unfortunately, after last month, one that's all too familiar, there have been no criminal charges in that case.

As for Charles Miller, no one answered his door Tuesday in Manhasset, but parents of kids on the beach in Greenport had plenty to say.

"The idea that I'd be trusting my kids with someone who uses such poor judgment frightens me to think about it," said Elise Berkman, a Greenport beachgoer.

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