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Boater's excuse: 'I wasn't driving'

An Australian man who triggered a security alert when his 40-foot sportfishing boat ran aground near the prime minister’s residence — and he was subsequently charged with boating while intoxicated — offered an excuse for the accident. He told a court that his wife was driving.

The 35-year-old crane operator, his wife and three young sons were reportedly out for a day cruise on May 21, 2006, according to the Australian news reports. The family was heading home from a restaurant, at which the man told the court he drank several 15-ounce beers — “at least six.”

The boat ran aground around 6:30 p.m. in darkness, the man told the court on Aug. 23. While police report at the scene the man told officers “on at least four occasions” that he was at the wheel at the time of the accident, the man denied that in court.

Instead, he said, he was below, settling an argument among his sons, and his wife volunteered to take the wheel. His wife has reportedly been licensed to drive the boat for 10 years.

The court hearing is continuing.

— Rich Armstrong