A Gloucester man whose Massachusetts license had already been revoked faces a fourth offense of operating a boat under the influence of alcohol after he clashed with a U.S. Coast Guard crew off Magnolia.
Craig A. Geary, 59, of 7A Centennial Ave., was freed after posting $2,500 bail following his arraignment Thursday before Gloucester District Court Magistrate Margaret Crateau. He is due back in court Sept. 23 for a hearing, court officials said Friday.
In addition to the drunken boating allegation, Geary is also charged with negligent operation of a boat and malicious destruction of property of less than $1,200. The latter charge stems from his using a knife to cut the Coast Guard vessel’s tow line and break free during the crew’s enforcement action. His boat struck the Coast Guard vessel and he was taken into custody.
According to reports filed by Coast Guard Petty Officer Ryan Carvalho and Gloucester police Officer Kevin Mackey, the Coast Guard received a call Tuesday just after 4:20 p.m. reporting that a 23-foot Regulator boat was adrift off Rafes Chasm in Magnolia.
Carvalho’s report indicates that the 47-foot Coast Guard vessel pulled up to the 23-foot boat at the scene. Carvalho asked Geary, who was operating the vessel, why he thought his boat might have been reported as unmanned. Geary first told Carvalho that he had left the boat for a swim to “cool off” but changed his story to say he had taken a nap on deck.
Carvalho noted that Geary was exhibiting slurred speech and a “swaying stance,” and suspected he was “under the influence of something.” The Coast Guard and police said Geary later told them that he had consumed “four or five drinks.”
Carvalho directed his Coast Guard crew to place Geary’s vessel in a stern tow with a bridle. But Geary, he said, could not place the bridle securely into the bitts on his boat, so Carvalho ordered him to go to his leaning post while a crewman secured the tow.
Instead, Geary pulled out a knife and began cutting the tow lines, ignoring Carvalho’s commands to stop doing so. At that point, Carvalho said he donned his enforcement gear and boarded Geary’s boat, ordering him at gunpoint to stop cutting the lines and to disembark to the Coast Guard vessel.
Geary then tried to gun the engines — raising the 150-horsepower motors to “full throttle” Carvalho’s report states — in an attempt to pull away.
But Geary’s boat collided with the Coast Guard vessel. Carvalho and Coast Guard crew members gained control of Geary and his vessel and took him to Station Gloucester off Harbor Loop, where they were met by Mackey and other city police.
Mackey’s report indicates that Geary failed a series of field sobriety tests administered by police, while Carvalho’s report states that Geary registered a blood alcohol content of .20 in a breath-alcohol test — more than double the legal limit of .08 for operating any vessel, according to Massachusetts Environmental Police. Penalties may also include the loss of a motor vehicle driver’s license, an environmental police posting indicates.
Ray Lamont can be reached at 978-675-2705, or email@example.com.