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1979 C&C 30 Mk I - 2QM15
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Obviously the best policy is not to drink anything if you're the one skippering the boat. But I was just thinking that there could be times when you might ask a guest onboard that may have had a drink or two to watch the wheel for a minute while you go forward, below, or whatever...

This may sound like I'm being overly paranoid, but at least in the Maryland area, there's always the possibility that DNR (Department of Natural Resources) could be running a saturation operation in the waters where you're sailing. So if the person on the wheel/tiller does anything to attract their attention in one of these zones, it's not out of the realm of possibility that you could get snagged.

(In the US), are the laws for OWI the same as automotive DUI/DWI? Are the breathalizer limits governed by state in which you're operating? And if you're beyond a given state's coastal authority, how does the USCG govern OWI?

Also in the scenario above... Would the owner of the boat be charged, or the person that was holding the wheel when you were stopped?
 

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In California the BAC limits are the same as for motor vehicles:.08. Alcohol is allowed aboard a boat, however, and open containers are not illegal. My personal opinion is that someone with a BAC of .08 is pretty darn drunk, and shouldn't be in control of any vessel even temporarily.
 

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In Canada rules are the same as motor vehicle for intoxication level. One additional rule is that no one may drink unless the boat is attached to the ground, anchor or tied.
 

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In California the BAC limits are the same as for motor vehicles:.08. Alcohol is allowed aboard a boat, however, and open containers are not illegal. My personal opinion is that someone with a BAC of .08 is pretty darn drunk, and shouldn't be in control of any vessel even temporarily.
Same rules here in NC, I believe. And I agree with your opinion as well.
 

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1979 C&C 30 Mk I - 2QM15
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172 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
In an automobile (and I guess on a boat), it's .08 here in Maryland too. But actually depending on a person's body weight, time between consumption, and a variety of other factors, they can blow a .08 after just 2 consecutive drinks. And for a lot of people, 2 drinks won't result in outward signs of obvious intoxication.

It's good information to know though...

Thanks!
 

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Under federal laws OWI is 0.1%
Most states are 0.08%. Note USCG will turn you over to a state enity if you blow between those two numbers.
Now if you have a USCG license; You can only be less then 0.04%. More than 0.04% you are considered OWI.
Any questions? Note the NTM 00/07 for the above data.
 

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What does 'operating' mean?

Hey,

Serious question, what does 'operating' mean? What if the boat is on autopilot and the sails are trimmed? Who is operating the boat? Clearly, there should be a sober responsible person on board who is competent to operate the vessel. But how does the coast guard / police / harbor patrol / whoever, decide?

Barry
 

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Hey,

Serious question, what does 'operating' mean? What if the boat is on autopilot and the sails are trimmed? Who is operating the boat?
In the case of an AP it would fall back to the skipper (owner or responsible party who chartered).

For a boat being helmed by crew and the skipper is on board; the person at the helm would need to be sober and if not can be charged with OWI. However in the case of an accident with a sober helmsman and intoxicated skipper; the skipper would still hold liability if there were an accident. I think it would come back to if the helmsman were taking commands from the skipper in regards to if it were an OWI situation or not.

That's just my take on it; I'm not a maritime lawyer. IMHO the skipper should remain sober (below .04); if I'm thirsty I drink soft drinks or tea and leave the beers for when we are dockside or moored. If I decide to have beer I limit it to a maximum of 2 during the day and not more than 1 per hour; and the weather must be good/clear.
 

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When I first bought a boat 10 years ago, I made it a policy not to have drinking underway, and while I have been known on a very hot day to nurse a can of cider, I've pretty well stuck to that. The laws here (Ontario) just changed this weekend from .08 to .05, which means a small adult could "blow intoxicated" after one beer, well, one Canadian beer, anyway.

So it's not worth it, although one can easily see that a lot of drinking still goes on aboard race boats and cruisers.

Now, while tied to my dock? Sure, break out the Barolo. It's still a cambered deck, however, and there's still some steep steps, so I try to keep things manageable, because on a steel boat, you can kill yourself in a number of ways.
 
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