You are quite correct is saying that there are no real drink sailing laws in the UK. It is self policing and generally it works very well. However, it seems that in almost every occasion, in my experience, that those that are drunk are "in charge" of power boats which are driven like cars. The owners think that because there is water
in front of them that
a) there is enough water
for their draft
(assuming they know what draft
b) they want to go there and no one should get in the way.
The Rules of the Road do provide for narrow channels but surely common sense must prevail anyway. I work on the principle that if a vessel is bigger than me then I'll keep out of its way whenever practicable. I was once coming up from Margarita to Grenada
hard on the wind
and I saw a tanker approaching me on a near collision
course. It was just past dawn and I wasn't sure if I had been seen. I called the vessel on 16 and asked him if he could cut round my stern as I was hard on the wind
and didn't want to lose any ground. He answered me immediately, told me that he had seen me and would alter course for me. Needless to say the ship wasn't a "flag of convenience" type and so had an officer of the watch with proper qualifications and actually looked out of the bridge windows - quite a rare event these days. If I had not had a reply then I would not have stood on relying on steam giving way to sail but would have altered around his stern.
In the UK, as I'm sure the same is true of the US, each port has its own extra rules regarding navigation
in confined waters which gives priority to bigger vessels as they have so much less room to manoeuvre than us yachties.
More common sense and less death wish would be good