A man who was at the controls of a powerboat that crashed into a sailboat off Hull, Massachusetts, has been arrested and charged with operating a boat while drunk .

The accident which occurred over the weekend resulted in the death of a female passenger in the powerboat.  She was thrown out of the boat on impact.  Police at the scene found signs of intoxication on the boat operator.  He smelled of alcohol, and his speech was slurred.  Blood samples were taken, and drug and alcohol tests are being conducted.  Results are expected soon.

The boater denies that he was under the influence of alcohol.  He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.  According to him, he and nine of his passengers left the Winthrop Yacht Club for a ride on the 25-foot power boat.  He saw the sailboat in his path, and tried to swerve to avoid an accident.  However, he was unable to avoid impact.

He has admitted that that had been drinking at the club, just before he went out of the boat, but says that it was just a few drinks.  However, investigators recovered a number of alcohol bottles, including several empty beer cans, and wine glasses from the power boat.

It’s the biggest piece of advice that any maritime law lawyers would give a boater, no matter how experienced.  Never operate a boat under the influence of alcohol.  Alcohol is one of the biggest factors in fatal boating accidents in the United States, contributing to 19 percent of boating accident deaths in 2010.