December 6, 2018 1:58 am

Allegedly drunk boat captain arrested after vessel spotted doing donuts near Port Hardy

The Canadian Coast Guard and members of the Port Hardy RCMP were deployed after the boat was spotted speeding in tight circles a few kilometres off shore.

Global News / File photo

RCMP on Vancouver Island are investigating after a potentially intoxicated man fell asleep at the helm of a fishing boat, spotted speeding in circles off the shores of Port Hardy.

It happened just before 10 a.m. on Nov. 29, when Mounties got a call from the Port Hardy Marine Authority about a 10-metre fishing boat driving erratically.

Police responded and confirmed that something was amiss.

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“Members were able to view the vessel through binoculars and noted that it was just circling in the same spot out in the open water north of Port Hardy,” reads an RCMP media release.

Police, along with the Canadian Coast Guard, deployed and were able to see a man at the controls of the vessel, who was slumped over and non-responsive.

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The Coast Guard used its horn to try and signal the boat but couldn’t rouse the man, police said.

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With the fishing boat travelling at speed, and maintaining a circle less than 200 metres in circumference, police said they made the decision to intervene to assess the medical condition of the operator.

“The Coast Guard vessel came along side the fishing vessel trying to match its speed and turning radius which proved difficult due to the large wake being put off by the fishing vessel,” reads the release.

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“The Coast Guard vessel was able to get along side the fishing vessel close enough to allow an RCMP officer and a Coast Guard member to jump aboard.”

The RCMP officer removed the incapacitated man, while the Coast Guard officer took control of the boat, police said. The vessel operator was assessed for injury, and a second man was located aboard, also passed out.

READ MORE: Potential charges for intoxicated boat driver and passengers

“It was determined that the boat operator was grossly impaired and an open container of liquor was located nearby,” reads the release.

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

Police say the man at the helm was arrested for impaired operation of a vessel, and police took a sample of his blood to test as evidence for his alleged intoxication.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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