A New Zealand native has been ordered to pay the rescue charity compensation after taking a boat from a harbour while drunk
A man who had to be rescued after taking a fishing boat from Montrose harbour in Scotland while drunk, has been ordered to pay the RNLI £1,000 in compensation.
New Zealander, Liam Balneaves, had been drinking at a family gathering before boarding the boat on 31 July and driving into the darkness, later becoming stranded.
Luckily, the town’s harbour master spotted what the 26-year-old was doing and contacted the RNLI to rescue him.
Mr Balneaves appeared at Forfar Sheriff Court on September 11th for sentencing, having previously admitted a charge of causing
danger to himself and lifeboat staff.
Co-accused Paul Ross was found not guilty on the same charge and the pair have already pledged £300 each to the RNLI to cover the cost of the rescue.
The defendant’s solicitor, Ian Flynn said Mr Balneaves was ashamed of his actions.
“He was on a family night out, had too much to drink and went to the harbour, where the boat was sitting primed and ready to go with the keys in it, and they took it.
“In the cold light of dawn he realised what could have happened to himself and others. He has been extremely concerned about what he could face as a result.”
Sheriff Gregor Murray said: “It is only when I read the Crown summary that I realise the amount of danger you placed yourself in.
“You took a boat and that boat goes out to sea and disappears. If it had not been for the fact that the harbour master had seen you clambering down and drunkenly bobbing off into the distance, I suspect you would not have been here today, because no one would have known you were there.
“It is because of the prompt actions of the harbour master and the lifeboat crew that you are here.”
Mr Balneaves has been given six months to pay the £1,000 compensation.