Tisbury man charged with drunk boating
A Tisbury man was arrested early Saturday morning, after twice fleeing from police in his boat. Police will seek a charge of operating a boat under the influence of alcohol. Arrested was 49-year-old Gregg Gerathy. This is his third arrest for operating under the influence of alcohol, according to police. The first two offenses were in motor vehicles.
On Saturday afternoon, Tisbury police responded to a report of a disturbance at a private dock owned by the West Chop Club. According to the police report, when officer Scott Ogden arrived at the club dock, Mr. Gerathy had already had a verbal confrontation and threatened a physical confrontation with the club manager.
Officer Ogden said Mr. Gerathy was staggering as he tried to untie his 27-foot Boston Whaler from the pier. When commanded by the officer twice to stop, Mr. Gerathy pulled away, then in response to another command to stop, turned the boat and accelerated straight at the dock. The report says Mr. Gerathy got within ten yards of the dock before suddenly turning away, and nearly struck the Skipper, a day fishing boat full of people, then headed into the heavy fog toward Lake Tashmoo.
In response to a call for backup, the Tisbury Harbormaster and Environmental Police responded in boats, and Tisbury police officer Michael Gately responded in a police vehicle. Mr. Gerathy tried to land at the Lake Street dock, after narrowly missing several boats moored in Lake Tashmoo. When ordered to step off the boat, he responded by leaving the dock, again narrowly missing several moored boats. The Harbormaster and Sargeant Matt Bass then apprehended Mr. Gerathy by tying up his boat and towing it back to the Lake Street dock.
It was there that Mr. Gerathy was arrested and handcuffed, after refusing to take a field sobriety test. According to the report, Mr. Gerathy told the officers "You guys have nothing better to do than arrest me? You better take care of my boat, it's worth more than you make in a year." The report says Mr. Gerathy continued to resist by refusing to be seated in a police cruiser, but was eventually transported to the Dukes County Sheriff's office for booking. A bottle of vodka, about one-quarter full, was seized from the boat as evidence.
Mr. Gerathy was arraigned on Monday. In addition to the charge of operating a boat under the influence of alcohol, he was charged with operating a motorboat without an identification number, unsafe operation of motorboat, and refusal to stop/show motorboat identification number to officer.
Mr. Gerathy was arrested in 2002, and again in 2007 on a charge of operating under the influence. Mr. Gerathy could not be reached for comment.
Massachusetts Environmental Police, working with the U.S. Coast Guard and local police, have recently stepped up enforcement of laws against boating under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The effort includes specialized training for police officers, and intensified patrols and sobriety checks in local waters.