Adrift on Napeague Bay

A Coast Guard search for a boat in distress ended with the season’s first boating-while-intoxicated arrest.

According to Petty Officer Corey Carlucci, who was involved in the rescue mission, the Coast Guard station on Star Island, Montauk, was notified by the East Hampton Town Police Department of a call reporting a 20-foot boat adrift in Napeague Bay. The pilot was reported to be slumped over the wheel, apparently unconscious.

The Coast Guard treated the situation as a boat in distress and began searching for the vessel. Petty Officer Joshua Garsik, the pilot of a 25-foot response boat with a three-man crew, said on Tuesday that “I made it to the boat in 15 minutes.”

The Coast Guardsmen found Carlton Jacobs of Springs, 46, asleep in his cabin on the still-drifting boat.

Petty Officer Carlucci arrived at the scene, just west of Rocky Point, in a 47-foot motor lifeboat, also manned by three. Two members of the rescue team tried to wake the sleeping man, failing twice before he finally came to, said Petty Officer Carlucci.

Mr. Jacobs’s 20-foot Wellcraft was towed to Star Island. One member of the crew stayed aboard to keep an eye on Mr. Jacobs, whom the petty officers described as extremely intoxicated. The journey to Star Island took about three hours, Petty Officer Garsik said.

Once on shore, Mr. Jacobs failed standard sobriety tests and was turned over to town police, who charged him with B.W.I. as well as reckless operation of a vessel. He was taken to police headquarters in Wainscott to await a morning arraignment in East Hampton Justice Court, where Justice Lisa R. Rana noted that a breath test at headquarters had produced a reading of .29 of 1 percent.

She set bail at $350, which was posted.

The .29 reading was obtained, according to the Coast Guard and the police, almost four hours after the initial contact with Mr. Jacobs in Napeague Bay. It is over three and a half times the .08 reading that triggers a normal drunken-operation charge.

Under current New York law, B.W.I. is treated the same as D.W.I., in that both are unclassified misdemeanors as a first offence. For boaters, there are no aggravated charges for high alcohol levels, as there are for drivers.