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Ouick Member Query...

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by Rick D, Jan 9, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Ralph Johnstone

    Ralph Johnstone

    Joined Jan 4, 2006
    2,169 posts, 134 likes
    Hunter H-310
    CA West Vancouver, B.C.
    Summer in British Columbia is the two consecutive days in which it does not rain and B.C becomes the most beautiful place on earth. And that's pretty much it for the year.

  2. agprice22


    Joined Aug 3, 2012
    1,314 posts, 69 likes
    O'day 272
    US Watkins Glen
    It is interesting because you can transition a boat from a vehicle to a camper, so once stopped and anchored, it seems the dui laws would not be in effect, BUT... a boat never stops being a dangerous place, so the captain is always on duty and responsible. Good seamanship implies you have thought your way through the upcoming challenges, and are always ready to respond to any situation. In that case, it seems what is legal should never be an issue, as drinking impairs good seamanship. That last one... o_O

    Kermit likes this.
  3. Kermit


    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    3,053 posts, 490 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Sumter, SC Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    +1 Thanks for saving me the trouble of writing this myself.

  4. Birdman737


    Joined Apr 15, 2012
    32 posts, 1 likes
    Catalina 400
    US Milwaukee, WI
    Like others have said, in WI there is no open container law for boats. I asked our Harbor Patrol about this, and they concurred, however an open container does give them Probable Cause for them to stop you for anything including a safety inspection. The USCG never needs PC for an inspection (and THAT'S a whole 'nuther thing!), but our Police/Harbor Patrol does.

  5. Richard19068


    Joined Jun 11, 2004
    551 posts, 8 likes
    Oday 31
    US Redondo Beach
    Thanks for that. Just to be clear, I have no problem with a reasonable BUI limit but I do like to have an occasional beer or light cocktail while on a daysail.

  6. Johnb


    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    908 posts, 27 likes
    Hunter 37-cutter
    US Richmond CA
    I will write to my representative to support it. People who are climbing around the boat, bow persons, grinding or even just rail meat, need to be sober.

    Allan12210 likes this.
  7. Gunni


    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    3,434 posts, 263 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    I believe the question is how do you get from open container to not sober? The legislation is over reach based on presumption of facts not in evidence.

    Gene Neill likes this.
  8. rgranger


    Joined Jan 19, 2010
    3,668 posts, 264 likes
    Hunter 26, Hobie 16 26
    US Smith Mountain Lake
    So where is Darwin in this discussion?:stir:

  9. dlochner


    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    487 posts, 68 likes
    Sabre 362
    US Oswego, NY
    It is the responsibility of the person in command of the vessel to set the alcohol policy on the boat under their command, it is not the state's responsibility to set the limit.

    It is in the state's interest to ensure that the person in command of a vessel is not impaired by alcohol or drugs because that person represents a danger not only to him/herself and others on the boat, but also to the general public.

    The assumption in open container laws is that the person in possession of the open container is actively consuming the alcohol and that there is a state's interest in controlling that consumption in some given place, a motor vehicle or a public space. At least in NY, it is illegal to have an open container in the passenger compartment of a car but not in the trunk, the assumption being that if the alcohol is in the trunk it is not being actively consumed.

    The problem with an open container law on a boat is definitional. I would hazard a bet that at any given moment on a cruising boat there is at least one open container, either a box of wine, a bottle of rum, or some other adult beverage. It is certainly the case on my boat, especially when I go to Canada, because open bottles don't count in the limit of alcohol that can be brought in to the country.

  10. Stu Jackson

    Stu Jackson

    Joined Feb 26, 2004
    18,973 posts, 241 likes
    Catalina 34
    US C34 San Francisco
    Being an EX-Californian, I still think this is dumb. "What's the matter with existing laws?" might be the question one would ask.

  11. Johnb


    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    908 posts, 27 likes
    Hunter 37-cutter
    US Richmond CA
    How do you get not sober without opening a container?

  12. Charlie Jones s/v Tehani

    Charlie Jones s/v Tehani

    Joined Mar 1, 2012
    1,014 posts, 88 likes
    1961 Rhodes Meridian 25
    us Texas coast
    Have zero idea about other places, but on MY boat these are the rules- Offshore, NOBODY drinks Nada, nothing,, zip.

    Inshore, I allow guests a moderate amount but as skipper, I NEVER consume any form of alcohol until the lines are on the dock, or the anchor is set. Then it's one beer, and after dinner, ONE drink. Period. Boating while intoxicated is totally as stupid as driving while.

  13. Gunni


    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    3,434 posts, 263 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    . Ask an undisciplined underage reckless teenager. They'll hook you up.

  14. kappykaplan


    Joined May 1, 2011
    481 posts, 19 likes
    Pearson 37
    US Lusby MD
    Same here, TSBB 2.

  15. Daveinet


    Joined Sep 20, 2014
    554 posts, 30 likes
    Rob Legg RL24
    US Chain O'Lakes
    How about if I am the owner, but am not on the boat?? Does my physical location change my liability even though it is unrelated to the operation? Same goes for the question of the boat under anchor. As soon as I step off the boat, is it now legal to be drunk? The boat condition and safety has not changed.

  16. Pilgrimtex


    Joined Oct 13, 2013
    115 posts, 22 likes
    Beneteau 37 Oceanis Platinum Edition
    US Seabrook, TX
    If you are a live aboard with open bottles of say rum down below and sailing; can you be considered having open containers? I'd be in big trouble. Lol.

  17. Jackdaw


    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    6,075 posts, 623 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    I figure once this topic had more replies than there are states, we were officially off topic!

    In Minnesota, which has BY FAR the highest number of recreational boats per capita, having a beer while boating is pretty much enshrined in our state constitution. Unless their is some huge defining moment (like a tragic accident) that is unlikely to change.

    Not like the water cops like it however.

    And as others note, the existence of an open container increases PC and your likelihood of a more thorough look-see and an attempt to gauge your sobriety level.

    Good news is that at least on Lake Minnetonka, which is the most patrolled lake in the state, sailboats are pretty much invisible to the water cops. Unless its for lights at dusk, I've never ever seen one pulled over.

  18. dlochner


    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    487 posts, 68 likes
    Sabre 362
    US Oswego, NY
    I'm not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV.

    As for loaning the boat to a friend, the friend becomes the operator and is in command of the vessel. The friend would then be the first one responsible. However, since it is your boat and you made the (poor?) decision to lend it to your drunken friend you would probably have some level of liability. But that's a good question for lawyers and judges to argue and that's why we all should have liability insurance.

  19. Gunni


    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    3,434 posts, 263 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    If you hand off operation of your boat you also hand off use of your liability insurance coverage. If you step off the boat and get drunk you are Drunk in Public. If you anchor where you should not anchor and are drunk that impairment will be a factor in the resolution of your liability.

  20. rgranger


    Joined Jan 19, 2010
    3,668 posts, 264 likes
    Hunter 26, Hobie 16 26
    US Smith Mountain Lake

    Ummmm not sure about that one @Jackdaw . Where I grew up in Southern Louisiana, every (EVERY) driveway has at least one boat in it. And everyone I know takes their boat out to the "camp" on the weekend to fish or crab or whatever is in season. Minnesota might take the prize in the mid-west but I would not be surprised if there are more registered boats than cars in Louisiana.

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