A Port Hardy resident has been charged after a man was found “grossly impaired” at the helm of a fishboat late last year.
Jason Willie George Walkus is facing charges of dangerous operation of a vessel, operating a vessel while impaired, and care and control of a vessel with over 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. Police say his blood-alcohol level was five times the legal limit when he was found.
According to a press release from Port Hardy Const. Rebekah Draht, the Marine Authority advised police at approximately 9:50 a.m., Nov. 29 a 10-metre fishing vessel was being operated in an erratic manner in the port.
The boat had departed by the time police arrived, but was seen about four miles out, tightly circling in the same spot in open water north of Port Hardy. The Coast Guard transported two officers to the vessel.
“Police were concerned for the well-being of the operator as he was non-responsive and clearly not in control of the moving vessel,” Draht said. “A decision was made to board the still moving vessel in order to bring it under control and ascertain the medical condition of those on board.
The Coast Guard vessel managed to match the speed and angle of the fishboat enough that one officer and one Coast Guard member were able to get on board, remove the boat operator from the helm and bring the vessel under control.
“(The police officer) was able to ascertain that the boat operator was grossly impaired and located an open container of liquor nearby,” Draht said.
Another male found sleeping in the hold, who he was intoxicated as well.
“The fishing vessel and the two males aboard was returned to the Port Hardy Marina with the assistance of the Canadian Coast Guard. The fishing vessel operator was arrested for impaired operation of a vessel. Due to his extreme level of intoxication he was transported to the Port Hardy Hospital for further examination.”
Walkus is to appear in court early next month.