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Old 30-08-2015, 21:24   #46
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

In Queensland (in Australia) you must be below the legal limit if you are anchored, in case you need to take control of the vessel if the anchor lets go for example.

If you have an anchor on the sand (as in a beach or otherwise) then that's ok, drink away.

If you are on a dock, you are all good.

An actual "mooring" is an interesting one. One would assume because it's a permanent fixture to the ocean floor then you would be ok.
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Old 30-08-2015, 22:26   #47
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

Seems like two different things are being discussed here: being legally drunk (ie BAC greater than the local statuatory limit) and just having a drin on board.

Are you Floridians saying that just having a drink will get you busted, or does it take being legally drunk... all while at anchor?

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Old 30-08-2015, 22:42   #48
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

I read through the link to the Florida laws. It appears to me that the officer would have to write down the probable cause for his belief that you were impaired. There's no law against drinking - it's impairment. Here's the definition in the Florida statute:

327.354 Presumption of impairment; testing methods.—(1) It is unlawful and punishable as provided in s. 327.35 for any person who is under the influence of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired or to the extent that the person is deprived of full possession of normal faculties, to operate any vessel within this state. Such normal faculties include, but are not limited to, the ability to see, hear, walk, talk, judge distances, drive an automobile, make judgments, act in emergencies, and, in general, normally perform the many mental and physical acts of daily life.

So the officer would have to record what behavior or evidence he saw to create probable cause of impairment. A man cooking steaks while drinking from a (hopefully) non-transparent cup isn't a lot to work with.

Could the cop just write a ticket to make a point? Sure. But unlike a speeding ticket, anyone is going to fight a DUI to keep it off their record. It won't take much of a lawyer to get a weak DUI dismissed. And District Attorneys and Police Chief's care a lot about DUI conviction rates. Cops know better than to hand them unwinnable cases.
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Old 30-08-2015, 22:49   #49
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Seems like two different things are being discussed here: being legally drunk (ie BAC greater than the local statuatory limit) and just having a drin on board.

Are you Floridians saying that just having a drink will get you busted, or being legally drunk... all while at anchor?

Jim
Regardless of how this thread has morphed, I don't think anyone is discussing about being legally drunk. In timbrenner's original post, he stated:

"I'm anchored in a legal anchorage, at sundown, keys are OUT of the ignition and put away, engines are off, 80 lb anchor securely placed on the bottom for the night, obviously chained to the boat. I'm cooking a steak on the grill and drinking a Crown Royal while I wait to eat, then go to bed."

I take that to mean:

1) Anchored, keys out of the ignition and engine off.
2) Enjoying a nice dinner (steak on the grill).
3) Pairing that nice cut of beef with a glass or two of whiskey.
4) Going to bed.

Human behavior that we can all understand, and in many cases envy. Nothing to get alarmed about, and no need for any authority figure to stick their nose into.

But, he then mentions "DUI". "Under the influence" always means "over the legal limit". So, there arises the confusion. I doubt that anyone here advocates being "drunk" on board. The OP kind of blends two different circumstances together. 1) A couple of high-balls, and 2) being drunk. They are not the same.
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Old 31-08-2015, 06:44   #50
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
If you want to know what the legal requirements for boating, you can ask the marine police or ask on the Internet. Which is more reliable? (Rhetorical question).
You may have meant this as a rhetorical question, but in reality it is something that confuses a lot of people. As such, it is a question worth some discussion.

The truth is that, in many (perhaps most), cases you are more likely to get a reliable answer from the internet. Cops are not lawyers. They do not know all the laws, and they do not know all of the legal interpretations that have been applied by courts. These things, however, can almost always be found on the internet. For the laws relevant to this particular question, see Florida statutes 327.35 (Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine) and 327.02, paragraph 30 (Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine).

Bottom line is that, despite what a lot of people think, the truth is that a police officer is just about the worst choice for questions about what is legal and what is not.

To the OP's question, as mentioned already, the law is clear that if you are "in charge of, in command of, or in actual physical control of a vessel," then you are "operating" it as far as the state of Florida is concerned.

Having said that, I am unable to find even one instance of anyone being convicted or fined for boating under the influence when they were legally anchored for the night. I suspect the reason for that is that the prosecuting attorneys all know they could never get a conviction in a case like that, and so they would not pursue the case in the first place.

I am not one to ever suggest to someone else that they should ignore the law. I will tell you, though, that when I'm anchored for the night, I routinely have a drink or two and absolutely do not worry about any legal consequences of that.
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Old 31-08-2015, 06:45   #51
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

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Originally Posted by PortClydeMe View Post
That's all fine and good. So? Are you having fun? As many who are my age will attest, if you are currently under the age of 50 in America, "You missed it!" (i.e., the good times)

I'm currently waiting for the creation of a time machine big enough for me, AND my yacht. Once loaded (both me, "burp", and the vessel), I will say "1950 please!"

That will give me another solid 30 years of "the good life", before all the nonsense started creeping in.

Fair winds, and, "burp", sail safe!

Come on down to my neighborhood if you want to recall your glory days. There are no open container laws (in a vehicle or walking anywhere) and generally a DUI is only issued if you are involved in an accident. DUI on a boat? Never heard of it in the 10 years I've been here involved in the boating industry. Many charter companies actually provide a complimentary bottle of rum. Getting off the plane within 50' of entering the terminal there is a table full of complimentary rum shots. Leaving a bar and you still have booze in your cup? Most bartenders will offer to pour your drink into a to go cup. Tell a bar tender that you are ready to pay your tab, most will ask if you need one for the road. How to pick out a newbie? I will hear a foreign phrase like "over served"!!! Are you 18? Belly up to the bar, you are legally old enough to defend our country and enjoy an adult beverage here. No this is not perfect but I stay here because of the freedoms and lack of far reaching regulations that I disapprove of that seem to be more pervasive in the States. Off my soapbox now.


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Old 31-08-2015, 07:34   #52
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

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Originally Posted by timbenner View Post
The laws are clear: You can't be drunk while driving a boat or a car.

Ahh - you raise an interesting question: What is driving?? Are you driving with an 80 lb anchor set, engines OFF, engine keys put away and the sails down? As described above. This is the root of my question. I assume your answer is yes, given your reply. I think not, applying common sense and a basic definition of driving. A definite overreach by zealous Governmental Authority. Unacceptable in my opinion.

LEGAL DEFINITIONS:
To prove a person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence, the following elements must be proven:
The person drove a vehicle -- that is, steered and controlled it while it was moving.
At the same time, the person was "under the influence" in that his or her ability to drive safely was affected to an appreciable degree by having drunk an alcoholic beverage, taken a drug, or combined alcohol and drugs. (Note that some people's driving can be impaired after having consumed even a relatively small amount of drugs or alcohol.)
To prove a person is guilty of the offense of driving with a BAC of 0.08%, the following elements must be proven:
The person drove a vehicle, and
Alcohol was present in the driver's blood at a concentration of 0.08% or greater while driving. (Some states set the limit even lower for underage drivers.)
Let's add the Coast Guard definitions: you are underway if you are not anchored or moored. So, by definition, if you are anchored you are NOT underway. If you are not underway, how can you be driving?
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Old 31-08-2015, 07:37   #53
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

When I first went to the Bahamas I was surprised to find wide tolerance for drinking and driving. If you were driving down the road drinking a beer and a police car came the other way you didn't want to take your hand off the wheel so you waved at the officer with the hand holding the beer. He, of course, waved back.
That's changed nowadays, probably due to too many tourists who don't know the difference between driving down the road drinking a beer vs. driving down the road drunk as a skunk.
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Old 31-08-2015, 07:48   #54
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post

----- we are know (or should know) ----- police offers may stop and board a vessel for nearly any reason, such as enforcing safety regulations and checking registration. Unlike with motor vehicles, a police officer is not required to have reasonable suspicion of a criminal act to stop and board a vessel."
Evans -
I do not believe that is the case, unless the law has been changed in the last decade or two. I have long been under the impression that Florida LEOS may not board your vessel without probable cause. Stop yes, board no. I've had Florida LEOS agree with me on this subject. If this is the exact wording on the statute then it may be that case law has resulted in it not being acceptable to the courts.
This, of course, does not apply to the USCG.
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Old 31-08-2015, 08:10   #55
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Re: DUI While at Anchor?

^^ that's a quote from a Florida law firm that specializes in marine cases. I am guessing they know what they are talking about.

And here's a quote from a second such Florida law firm: "In Florida, law enforcement officials may stop and board a vessel or boat without any suspicion of wrong doing, unlike a vehicle, without violating the operator’s Fourth Amendment Right. Both U.S. Customs and U.S. Coast Guard Officers have statutory authority to stop vessels and make documentation and safety checks. Moreover, the random stopping of all motorboats and brief detention of the crew on Florida’s waterways is constitutionally valid when Law Enforcement officers are checking the crews fishing licenses, boat registration, safety equipment and other safety checks. Additionally, under Florida Law the FWC has the right to board your boat or vessel under the “community care doctrine.”

The actual law is: (1) "No officer shall board any vessel to make a safety or marine sanitation equipment inspection if the owner or operator is not aboard. When the owner or operator is aboard, an officer may board a vessel with consent or when the officer has probable cause or knowledge to believe that a violation of a provision of this chapter has occurred or is occurring. An officer may board a vessel when the operator refuses or is unable to display the safety or marine sanitation equipment required by law, if requested to do so by a law enforcement officer, or when the safety or marine sanitation equipment to be inspected is permanently installed and is not visible for inspection unless the officer boards the vessel."

The very last sentence would seem to give officers the power to board in most situations, since there is almost always required permanently installed stuff like the head sea cock being closed or vent & backfire flame control systems for gas engines or the various required plaques, and probably to check for oil in the bilge (although that is less clear).

According to the USCG:
LAW ENFORCEMENT: A vessel underway when hailed by a Coast Guard vessel is required to heave to or maneuver as directed so as to permit a boarding team to come aboard . Other federal, state, and local maritime law enforcement officials may also board and examine your vessel, whether it is numbered, unnumbered, or documented . U .S . Coast Guard law enforcement personnel work with and may also be found aboard other agencies’ enforcement vessels.

Finally - Several states have signed compacts with the Coast Guard post 9/11, whereas the Coast Guard has delegated some of their Federal powers to the state. Specifically, they now allow state law enforcement their full authority to board vessels. I strongly suspect this is the case specifically in Florida, but can't find much documentation on it.
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Old 31-08-2015, 08:39   #56
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Re: DUI While at Anchor?

i can't think of any two worse sources for legal advice than cops and sailors.
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Old 31-08-2015, 08:44   #57
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Re: DUI While at Anchor?

My thought wasn't "reasoned" or "reasonable".

As I started, when I stated not to let common sense get in the way.

One has to admit a boat on anchor (mooring ball-much less so) is still a moving boat.

I think that's why at anchor one could get cited, whereas where one is "fastened hard", to a dock ... one wouldn't get cited.

I'm not saying I disagree with the common sense of being a little tipsy while on a ball or anchor with no threat of citation. That's why I surmised that maybe a drunk captain in a bar on land would be any more or less likely to be cited, than if she/she were lying stone drunk in the quarterberth.

Drunk in the quarterberth ... boat moves ... problem ... citation
drunk at a bar ... boat moves ... problem(actually a BIGGER problem), but no citation

I would much rather have a captain ... tipsy or drunk actually ON the boat, than to have the captain in a bar, or walking in WalMart looking for "things".

I say the captain ... on a boat that is "secured", should be in either place, in whatever condition, with no threat of citation ... as long as the boat is reasonably secured.

BUT ... laws are ideas put in black & white, with black & white terminology and very often by legislators who don't really think things through.



All the legislators had to do, was to think about a scenerio where an anchored boat can be "legally" abandoned(left, vacated or whatever), for a few hours or a few days, left to the faith of an anchor(or ball), and the fate of nature, should be no less legal than if the captain is stone drunk in the quarterberth.

There probably should be some caveat about a boat with a certain size and with certain amenities, properly secured(at dock or at anchor), being, at least to some degree exempt.
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Old 31-08-2015, 09:03   #58
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Re: DUI While at Anchor?

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Originally Posted by timbenner View Post
I live in Florida and wanted to share with you discussions I've had with law enforcement, concerning DUI while boating. I've posed this question to multiple law enforcement agencies and multiple officers, all with the same answer. Here's my question:

I'm anchored in a legal anchorage, at sundown, keys are OUT of the ignition and put away, engines are off, 80 lb anchor securely placed on the bottom for the night, obviously chained to the boat. I'm cooking a steak on the grill and drinking a Crown Royal while I wait to eat, then go to bed.

Question to Officer: "Would you give me a DUI while at anchor?" The answer I've got from every officer I've asked is: "YES, they would give me a DUI!!"

When I follow-up with "WAIT - I'm not driving, the boat is anchored", their reply is that the boat could drag anchor, then I would be "Driving While Intoxicated".

Whether their zealous - over reach of the intent of the law would hold up in Court or not is irrelevant, because you would endure a costly legal enema in the process.

My follow-up question is "Would you give me a DUI if tied to a dock?" Their answer to that is "NO".

Another good reason to boat in the Bahamas, not Florida.

Comments?
It sounds to me that the officer is trying to tell you that someone doesn't want you and your boat anchored there anymore. Land people, especially in Florida, have had a running battle about "transients" anchoring in the canals and waterways near their property.....this sounds like someone wants you gone. I once went for a short weekend sail to return to find my "temporary ground rtackle" gone.....after the second time the local jungle drums told us that it was time to head to calmer waters.
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Old 31-08-2015, 09:04   #59
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Re: DUI While at Anchor?

So, if I am tinkering with my chart plotter am I texting while under way?

I was in SF Bay. I tuned up my outboard and got a fellow boaters newly rebuilt inboard running. We were adrift, having beers and cocktails just outside Oyster Point. The Coast Guard came alongside, asked if either of us had firearms on board and asked permission to board. The other boat allowed boarding. He got a DUI. I told the CG I had two beers and I had a firearm (truth). I did not give permission to board, went below and secured the companion way. It was dead calm, no tide. Eventually a cutter towed me the 1\4 knot in. This took more than two hours and I was confident I was totally sober.
The coasties dressed me down after I tied up to the guest dock and I was super polite and did not get charged.
This brings up the issue of when can you be boarded? How does that law read?
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Old 31-08-2015, 09:08   #60
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Re: DUI While at Anchor?

I won't comment on the legalities, but I do have to agree...somebody onboard needs to be sober and in charge, even at anchor. Aside from dragging, there could be fire, fuel leak, collision, man overboard, or any number of things that would require a sober response.

I sail alone, or with my young children, so I keep sober the whole time, not a drop on board. When I crossed the ocean, I was often the only one sober on the boat. I didn't touch a drop till we were safely and securely docked in Antigua.
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