Drinking at anchor - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 107 Old 07-08-2009 Thread Starter
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Drinking at anchor

Hello,

I spent my holiday weekend aboard my Seidelmann 299. It was the first sail after over a year of hard work trying to restore the boat to its former glory
After spending most of the day sailing I dropped the anchor on the Hudson river and started enjoying the rest of the day. I hardly ever drink and this weekend was no different. About an hour after we dropped the anchor we were approached by Coast Guard. They tried really hard to find something to write me up for but fortunately they failed However, they did tell me that I am lucky that I am not drunk because I would be going with them... I rarely drink but I was under the impression that if you are at anchor you are legal to drink.
Am I wrong here or were they trying to intimidate me? I am not trying to put down CG because they are there when you need them save your life but this one guy in particular had something to prove.
I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!
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post #2 of 107 Old 07-08-2009
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Originally Posted by galernikus View Post
Hello,

I spent my holiday weekend aboard my Seidelmann 299. It was the first sail after over a year of hard work trying to restore the boat to its former glory
After spending most of the day sailing I dropped the anchor on the Hudson river and started enjoying the rest of the day. I hardly ever drink and this weekend was no different. About an hour after we dropped the anchor we were approached by Coast Guard. They tried really hard to find something to write me up for but fortunately they failed However, they did tell me that I am lucky that I am not drunk because I would be going with them... I rarely drink but I was under the impression that if you are at anchor you are legal to drink.
Am I wrong here or were they trying to intimidate me? I am not trying to put down CG because they are there when you need them save your life but this one guy in particular had something to prove.
I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!
I am interested in what others have to say. I honestly thought you were safe to drink at anchor also. The key might be standing watch over the anchor? I do not know.

Sorry to hear about your USCG experience. I have found them the opposite.

- CD

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post #3 of 107 Old 07-08-2009
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Traditionally, watercops haven't cared about booze if a boat was "parked" and down for the night. More recently, BWI laws have become a big issue after too many accidents and fatalities, and BWI laws usually make no exception for being anchored, moored, or otherwise. They follow the same terms as any other "motor vehicle" booze law, i.e. if you are in a car and you are drunk--you'll be busted if the keys are also in the car. Anywhere in the car.
There are no federal BWI laws that I know of, but you'd have to check the NY/NJ ones to see what the USCG thinks they can do on the Hudson. Whether you are in a charted anchorage might also be a factor, boats have been run down by commercial traffic on the Hudson (especially at night) when they simply drop a hook, not realizing that commercial traffic sometimes NEEDS the entire width of the river.

Or, greet the nice young men with "Thank god you've come! I was having a peaceful drink in the pub, and when I woke up, here I was on this boat, I think I've been dragooned by mad sailors! Please, rescue me!"

:-)
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post #4 of 107 Old 07-08-2009
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We're sitting in the cockpit now on a mooring in Boothbay Harbor surfing the net and drinking schnapps and beer. Not that I'm scanning about in paranoia, but we're interested too. We do often drink at the end of a day on a mooring or at anchor. Not to excess, but to a comfort level. I'm very interested in the Coast Guard policy and the opinions of other cruisers. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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post #5 of 107 Old 07-08-2009
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Having seen regular "news" reports of boating accidents and fatalities here in S.E. Michigan, nearly all of which have involved alcohol, I can see the need for strict enforcement, but I think ticketing boaters for drinking while anchored is going too far.

If I've been sailing, or stink-boating, for that matter, all day, and I want to toss out the hook and relax with my favourite mind-destroying beverage, I ought not to have to worry about being hauled off to the hoosegow for it.

Now if I subsequently up-anchor and get under way again: That's another story.

Before long, we won't even be able to drink on our own property .

galernikus, I think I'd be firing a letter off to my two Senators and my Representative about that incident.

Jim
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post #6 of 107 Old 07-08-2009
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see page 3
http://www.uscg.mil/D1/prevention/Na...nforcement.PDF


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post #7 of 107 Old 07-08-2009
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Still unclear if operating a vessel is when at anchor. I have herd that some law enforcment would ask you off you boat , then arest you for public intoxication.
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post #8 of 107 Old 07-08-2009
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Not to hijack the thread, but this has me wondering about "illegal transportation" with regard to any opened bottles of alcohol in the liquor cabinet while sailing. Do you keep it locked? Has anyone ever had this mentioned during a boarding?
I remember when moving to my current residence, the local cop stopped me as I was loading a box of bottles into the back seat of my car and informed me that they had to be locked in the trunk, or I could be cited for illegal transportation of alcohol.
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post #9 of 107 Old 07-08-2009
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Originally Posted by BOLTER33 View Post
Still unclear if operating a vessel is when at anchor.
And if "operating a vessel" includes whilst being at anchor, what about when docked? And if docked = anchored, then live-aboards can't even drink in their own homes?

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I have herd that some law enforcment would ask you off you boat , then arest you for public intoxication.
Some cops give all cops a bad name.

Jim
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post #10 of 107 Old 07-08-2009
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Unfortunately, some people with a badge allow the power it gives them to go to their head...and become an A$$hole with a badge... and tarnish the reputation of the good people they work with.

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