Drunk boater found asleep at the helm, doing doughnuts off B.C. harbour: RCMP

RCMP found the man asleep at the helm with an open liquor bottle nearby — and said the man was so intoxicated, he had to be hospitalized after his arrest.

Man arrested, hospitalized after officers found him 'slumped' at helm with open liquor bottle nearby

RCMP found liquor on board the ship after boarding near Port Hardy on the morning of Nov. 29. (Shutterstock / AmandaADB)

RCMP say a man has been arrested for driving a fishing boat drunk, after he was found asleep at the helm with the boat doing doughnuts off the north coast of Vancouver Island.

A statement said the man was so intoxicated, he had to be hospitalized after his arrest.

The Marine Authority first called RCMP after someone saw the boat moving "in an erratic manner" off Port Hardy, B.C., at 9:50 a.m. PT on Nov. 29. 

The vessel had sailed out of the bay by the time officers arrived. Looking through binoculars, RCMP could see the boat "just circling in the same spot" out in the open water.

A statement said the Canadian Coast Guard ferried two RCMP officers out to the boat to investigate. They saw a man sitting at the helm, but said he was "slumped over" and unresponsive, his ship still continually spinning to the right.

Staff Sgt. Wes Olsen, detachment commander in Port Hardy, said the officers honked their horn to no response. A Mountie and a Coast Guard officer then boarded the vessel.

The Canadian Coast Guard responded to help RCMP take control of the fishing boat, driving two officers out to the spinning ship. (David Horemans/CBC)

Olsen said they found the captain "grossly impaired," with an open bottle of liquor nearby.

The officer said a second, apparently drunk man was found sleeping in the hold.

The captain was arrested for impaired operation of a vessel and hospitalized. The investigation is ongoing.