BLACK PRESS RCMP FILE PHOTO

B.C. fisherman seen in vessel spinning in circles arrested for alleged drunk boating

RCMP said the boat operator was ‘grossly impaired and an open container of liquor was located nearby’

A Vancouver Island fisherman was arrested on suspicions of impaired boating.

On Nov. 29, at approximately 9:50 a.m., Port Hardy RCMP were told by the marine authority that a 10-metre long fishing vessel was being operated in “an erratic manner” in the port, and that the vessel’s driver could be impaired.

According to Staff Sgt. Wes Olsen, Port Hardy RCMP went to the marina and were informed that the vessel in question had since departed the bay area and was approximately four miles north of Port Hardy still being operated erratically. Olsen noted that police saw the boat “circling in the same spot out in the open water north of Port Hardy.”

Two Port Hardy Mounties and the Coast Guard headed out to the circling boat saw a man at the helm of the boat who seemed to be “slumped over and non-responsive.”

When the Coast Guard couldn’t gain the boater’s attention, police decided to board the rapidly moving vessel that was “continually turning to the right in a [small] circle”

Once police got on board, they examined the driver for injuries and found that he was “grossly impaired and an open container of liquor was located nearby.”

Another man was found sleeping in the hold of the boat who police said was also intoxicated.

The fishing vessel and the two males aboard returned to the Port Hardy marina with the assistance of the coast guard, said Olsen.

“The fishing vessel operator was arrested for impaired operation of a vessel,” said Olsen.

“Due to his extreme level of intoxication he was transported to the Port Hardy hospital for further examination.”

Police took a blood sample from the allegedly impaired driver to test for impairment.

Olsen thanked the local coast guard members for such a quick response to the incident, “and the quick thinking of officers on scene who brought this matter to a quick and successful conclusion. Things could have turned out much differently had the weather been poor and the Coast Guard not been present with a vessel in the water for a quick response.”

The incident remains under investigation.

– with files from Port Hardy RCMP

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