Drunk Charter Boat Captain Arrested For Refusing To Return Passengers To Shore

A charter boat captain was arrested on Sunday, accused of getting intoxicated on his boat, firing a handgun and refusing to return his passengers to shore.

Shortly after midnight on June 2, Sarasota Police and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to 2 Marina Plaza in Sarasota after receiving calls from passengers aboard a charter ship saying the captain, 36-year-old Mark Bailey, was intoxicated, had fired off rounds from a handgun and was refusing to bring them to shore.

When Bailey docked his boat, he was detained as police spoke with witnesses.

Bailey’s first mate told officers that he had seen the captain drink an unknown number of beers. Three witnesses gave a similar statement, while one added Bailey had also been drinking rum, according to police. Two passengers also attested they witnessed Bailey snorting cocaine.

“So that was great, the first couple hours of the boat was fantastic,” said Christopher Giuffre, a passenger on the boat. “And then right after we limited out, he started getting, like an aggressive turn.”

The captain’s demeanor changed when Giuffree says the youngest in the group, a 15-year-old, got up to get a beer from the bucket.

“And the captain told him, you can’t grab a beer,” Giuffre recalled.

The teen thought he was joking and took it down anyways. After all, it was his dad who brought the beers in the first place.

“And the captain followed him down the ladder, got aggressive, pushed on him, choked him, ripped his chain off,” said Giuffre.

The boat passengers de-escalated the situation, but 30 minutes later, they say Captain Bailey asked Giuffre to come to the fly deck, only to tell him, “I have a 9 millimeter on the boat, I can shoot you guys all in the head and leave you all out here if I wanted to.”

The boat passengers de-escalated the situation, but 30 minutes later, they say Captain Bailey asked Giuffre to come to the fly deck, only to tell him, “I have a 9 millimeter on the boat, I can shoot you guys all in the head and leave you all out here if I wanted to.”

Maybe an empty threat, Giuffre says he hoped, but regardless, he quickly made his way back down the ladder.

“And about 10 minutes after I walked out the door is when he used his gun, shot over the top of our head shot about six shots, seven shots out of his gun,” Giuffre said.

They all hit the deck, scrambling inside and out of Bailey’s way.

Hours passed, and at 10 p.m. they say Bailey was driving them in circles about 50 miles out from the shore.

“The only thing I was thinking is he was trying to amp or hype himself up, so that he could get enough courage to come down and do something with the gun,” said Giuffre.

They say Bailey ignored numerous requests for them to return to the dock until he finally agreed, but only after they paid him $1,600, plus tip.

“It was unbelievable,” said Giuffre. “It really, I mean it was like a movie.”

At 1 a.m., 19 hours after they had set out, the Coast Guard and Sarasota Police were waiting at the dock near Marina Jack’s for Captain Bailey when they pulled in.

Officers say they led Bailey to a nearby cruiser and say he was unsteady on his feet, was slurring his speech, had watery, bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol. Police say he refused to submit to field sobriety exercises or a breathalyzer.

Officers say Bailey became agitated when told he was under arrest and demanded to speak to a supervisor before kicking the rear door of a cruiser. Bailey was charged with boating under the influence and resisting arrest without violence.

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating Bailey for crimes that took place in their jurisdiction out on the water, including the allegations around the use of a handgun and refusing to return passengers to the shore.

Though Bailey was arrested, but has posted bail, so ABC7 went to his house, called and texted him to give him an opportunity to respond, but didn’t hear back.

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