After answering a 999 call, the rescuers found two intoxicated men who had run out of fuel while lost at sea. The rescue took four hours, as one of the men had passed out and the other had been unable to communicate a reliable account of his location.

Booze on boatsWhen they were eventually found (several miles from their reported position - which had in fact been merely a waypoint), they appeared wholly unprepared for night navigation at sea, with no flares and an apparently limited capacity to operate their GPS unit. In the event, the lifeboat crew ended up searching about 50 square miles of open water before finding the stricken boat, costing the Coastguard around £1,000 in fuel alone.

Guernsey's Harbour Master, Captain Gill, said: “I've long held the view that legislation in respect of drinking and boating is the last thing that we need, but I have to say we are getting pretty close to considering that sort of thing.” As things stand, only commercial skippers can be charged with being in charge of a vessel while under the influence of alcohol, but with instances of drink-related boat incidents reportedly on the rise, there is growing pressure for an extension of that legislation to incorporate leisure boaters.