Originally Posted by canadianseamonkey
I agree with you 100%, but how can the captain be charged? There is no law about being drunk on a boat when anchored. He can't start the engine, because then he would be charged for operating a vehicle under the influence. I've seen boat anchored with their cockpit floors filled with empty glasses and beer bottles and I could only shake my head and wonder what these people would do if a crisis arose.
IIRC, the captain can be charged for gross negligence. AFAIK
, regardless of whether his vessel is anchored or underway, he is responsible for it. If it starts to drag, he is responsible for making it fast to the bottom again—ie resetting the anchor—or getting it underway and under control before it does any damage to nearby property.
So to go back to the original question of this thread, is it so bad to have a drink while under sail? who is being more responsible? and doesn't this law have a huge void? Something to think about next time you're anchored next to a drunken idiot.
Personally, I have no issue with a person having a drink while underway—provided they are doing so responsibly. One beer on most of the boaters I see, who are in the near 200 lbs. size range, isn't going to affect them enough to be a danger. I do object to the boaters that have six or seven beers with dinner, and then decide that they're still okay to operate the boat—even though they are fairly clearly affected.
As several others have pointed out, there is a significant difference between drinking responsibly and being drunk.
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