Drunken sailor fell in drink

Duncan Coxwell was drunk when he accidentally sank his dinghy while fishing off Seaforth in January.
Duncan Coxwell was drunk when he accidentally sank his dinghy while fishing off Seaforth in January. Peter Holt

WHAT do you do with a drunken sailor?

Especially one who has capsized his dinghy and who, along with his mate and their dog, had to swim to an island and wait to be rescued.

Legal experts are now trying to decide what to do with Duncan Coxwell’s boating and car licences after his drunken misadventure off Seaforth.

Coxwell and his mate were fishing off Seaforth in a Sea Hunter dinghy on January 17.

At 10am police were advised that the dinghy had capsized off High Island.

Two men and a dog had swum about 100 metres to the island and had been picked up by passers-by and were being taken to the Victor Creek boat ramp.

Police met the group at the boat ramp and questioned Coxwell.

He told them he had been fishing when he stood up to cast a line, slid on some mud on the floor of the boat, and the port side tipped over into the water.

The water flooded in and capsized the boat.

Police smelt alcohol on his breath and he admitted drinking about five cans of spirits and pre-mixed drinks from 5am.

He failed a creek-side breath test and was taken to the police station where his official reading was 0.113 per cent.

Coxwell pleaded guilty in the Mackay Magistrate’s Court on Monday to being drunk in charge of a vessel.

The court heard he had two previous maritime-related convictions – for contravening boating regulations in 2005 and for failing to carry the required safety equipment in a boat in 2002.

There was a discussion between prosecutor Sergeant Sabine Scott, defence solicitor Peter Barnett of Barron and Allen, and Magistrate Damien Dwyer about what penalty could be imposed as far as licence disqualifications were concerned.

Mr Barnett said he believed that his client could lose his boating licence.

Sgt Scott said she believed it was at the discretion of the Magistrate to disqualify both boating and car licences.

And Mr Dwyer said some research would have to be done to ensure the appropriate disqualification was imposed. Sentencing was adjourned to next week.

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