Alcohol a factor in high-speed boat death

An investigation into the death of a man in an accident on Lough Derg last year has determined that his boat was travelling at high speed close to the shoreline and his judgement may have been impaired by alcohol.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board issued its findings following the death of Pat Danaher, aged 44, a father of three originally from Limerick but living in Ogonnelloe, Co Clare. His body was found on Aug 3, 2012, a day after his boat was found floating partially submerged and overturned near Youghal Bay.

While Mr Danaher’s 7m Crownline speedboat was equipped with safety equipment including several personal flotation devices and buoyancy aids, the victim was not wearing one when his body was found.

The MCIB was unable to establish the purpose of the trip or the route he took.

The investigation established that boat had struck submerged rocks at high speed and suffered major damage to the outdrive allowing the free ingress of water into the boat.

Autopsy results showed the ethanol levels in Mr Danaher’s blood and urine were “within the toxic range” but the investigation concluded that “the influence of alcohol may have affected his ability to effectively apply his local knowledge and experience and make rational decisions”.

The MCIB issued one safety recommendation in its report: “That the minister should ensure owners and operators of recreational craft should be aware of and follow the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport’s code of practice for the safe operation of recreational craft directive, specifically with relation to the influence of alcohol on the operation of power craft.”


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