Drunk man who fell from boat fined £700 and told he is lucky to be alive

A man is “lucky not to be in a mortuary” after falling from his boat in the early hours of this morning.

Alexander Manson, 24, of Fullaburn in Bressay, was almost three times over the alcohol limit when he sailed his 28ft vessel Solan in Bressay Sound at around 2.30am.

Something fell over the side of the boat, and the marine engineer fell overboard trying to retrieve it. It was only because a passer-by was out walking his dog that he was heard shouting for help.

The lifeboat and coastguard volunteers were quickly on the scene.  He had taken the boat following a drinking session in the town and had missed the last ferry home.

Appearing from custody today Manson was fined £700 after he admitted sailing with 101 microgrammes of alcohol in his breath – the legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Manson was lucky to be alive. “It’s not exaggerating to say that Mr Manson is lucky he’s here today and not in a mortuary because of his stupidity.  He was clearly significantly over the legal limit.”

He said it was “just by chance” that a man was out walking his dog and raised the alarm. “It’s equally fortunate there was a prompt and immediate response from the emergency services.”

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Manson was a “professional seaman” who was employed by an agency. “He accepts how dangerous it was for him to do what he did and wouldn’t seek to defend his actions.

“He seems to be aware he’s very lucky to be here today.  He was unable to retrieve something that fell overboard and was unable to climb back on the boat.”

Mr Allan said Manson was not normally someone who drank heavily.  On this occasion he had been to a friend’s house and had some beers.   He missed the last ferry and decided to take the boat. He added that Manson had pledged to make a donation to the lifeboat.

Honorary sheriff Eric Peterson said the consequences of Manson’s circumstances were of his own making. He reduced the fine from £1,000 to reflect the early plea of guilty.


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