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Old 30-08-2015, 10:07   #1
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DUI While at Anchor?

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?
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Old 30-08-2015, 10:11   #2
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

The laws are clear: You can't be drunk while driving a boat or a car.

Boaters, however, are allowed to drink on a vessel, while drivers are sent to jail if they have an open beer bottle in the car.


Law on open containers of alcohol different on boats - TC Palm
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Old 30-08-2015, 10:31   #3
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

what happens if the boat is on auto pilot,technically "otto" would be the driver
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Old 30-08-2015, 10:33   #4
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

Tim-
You'll have to look up the exact wording of the FL DUI statutes, which should be online in the "Florida Statutes" as last amended in July.


If you're sleeping off a few drinks in the back of your car and the keys can be found by someone poking around in it...that's usually grounds for a DUI or similar conviction, simply because you had access to the keys and the vehicle. So logically...


And especially if you weren't flying the lights or day shape for "Vessel not under command", which implies it WAS still under command. By the man with the drink in his hand.


Problem being, even when anchored, sometimes someone might have to do something, well, sailor-ish.


Two sides to that coin.
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Old 30-08-2015, 10:41   #5
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

Well...it's an "only if" scenario I'm hearing here. Only if you have to take control or only if the anchor drags. I think the bottom line is...if you're anchored (legally) there is no reason for them to board.
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Old 30-08-2015, 10:51   #6
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

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.)
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Old 30-08-2015, 11:01   #7
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

YOU WOULDN'T HAVE THIS ISSUE IN THE BAHAMAS! Why, they aren't out to feed their legal system with crap! Generating USA parasite fees i.e. lawyers, DUI classes, Court Fees, increased insurance, impaired driving record, etc. - even if you're found INNOCENT!

IN THE BAHAMAS, THEY WOULD RATHER SERVE YOU HAVING A GOOD TIME, SO YOU'LL COME BACK.

Don't get me wrong, I've never had a DUI. But with this logic, you could give everyone drunk in a mobile home a DUI!! It's got wheels on it, their anchor could drag as well. How about all of those stoned kids on surf boards, should they all get DUI's?? How far do we let Government stretch this crap!!
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Old 30-08-2015, 11:03   #8
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

So you asked a cop a question and he said he'd book you for drinking on a boat.

Of course he's going to say that. I highly doubt, unless you were giving the cop a reason, a cop is just going to motor up and arrest you.
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Old 30-08-2015, 11:41   #9
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

I would have to read the exact florida statute but I suspect this is like "following too close for conditions". They generally won't pursue it unless there is an accident. When you pose the question, you force them to give the official answer not the practical answer.


If you are anchored on a quiet evening not bothering anyone, they likely aren't bother you if you have a drink or two.


If you are can't stand up drunk and the anchor drags during a squall and someone gets injured while fending off your boat, you get a DUI.
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Old 30-08-2015, 11:45   #10
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

I was living in Tavares, FL for a while and was called for jury duty. I was picked for DUI case on a boat. When we to the jury room after the lawyers were done most of the jurors agreed with the state. It was a center cockpit 20' ish fishing boat and they were fishing and having a couple of beers. I made a compelling argument that the boat was at anchor, keys out of the ignition, anchor light on and therefor not "driving the boat" I saw the guy in the parking lot, I didn't say anything, but he was extremely happy and mentioned he would have lost his job.
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Old 30-08-2015, 11:56   #11
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

Quote:
Originally Posted by timbenner View Post
I

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".

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

Comments?
So what if the dock collapsed and your boat was set free?

I seriously doubt 1 drink would be an issue, however being drunk and unable to maneuver your boat if it did drag is another scenario if u were alone.
In Key west people get dui on bicycles all the time. But it's ok to walk/ run drunk...



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Old 30-08-2015, 12:46   #12
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

They might charge you but you will win in court.

Underway means that a vessel is not at anchor, or made fast to the shore, or aground.
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Old 30-08-2015, 12:50   #13
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

".if you're anchored (legally) there is no reason for them to board."
In a word, no.
"They" can board you for a vessel safety check any time, any place, they chose to. Docked or under way or careened on a sandbar. With two exemptions: you can refuse a boarding party if that interruption of your journey would make it unsafe, i.e. delay you from safe passage in a tidal straight. In that case, they have the right to follow you, or meet you, and show their pleasure (hehe) at your announced destination. You can also refuse to stop if you are a documented vessel, inboard for the US and carrying inbound international mail. They're not allowed to stop you until after you've directly passed that into the domestic postal system.


Again, the nice men with guns and steroids may not appreciate the legalities of the situation.
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Old 30-08-2015, 14:03   #14
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

This reminds me of the joke thread where a woman was stopped by a Fish and Wildlife cop for having a fishing pole in her boat.
She wasn't fishing.
Cop wanted to give her a ticket, saying "you have all the equipment".
She said she could accuse him of rape because he "had all the equipment..."
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Old 30-08-2015, 14:53   #15
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Re: DUI WHILE AT ANCHOR??

You know, forty years ago a defense lawyer was telling a judge the same thing. Or so they said at the time.
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