The Maritime and Coastguard Agency of the United Kingdom recently rescued three men who were lost off the southern coast of Wales. The three men weren’t lost at sea—they ended up on a small deserted island after a night of drinking.

According to a report from the BBC, in the early hours of March 20th, the men anchored their cargo vessel, the Dutch-flagged Alana Evita, approximately two miles off the shore of Barry, South Wales. They left the vessel by inflatable boat in search of a good time at one of the town’s pubs. However, at some point during the night, they lost their way back to their ship due to heavy fog in the area, and ended up on the small island of Flat Holm.

When the men failed to return to their vessel, shipmates reported them missing, and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency launched a search and rescue mission involving “helicopters and rescue teams.” The agency was assisted by five lifeboats from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), according to a tweet by the Coastguard. Eventually, an ecologist working on Flat Holm discovered the men and called an RNLI team, which was able to return them to shore.

“They were very lucky we were here,” ecologist Richard Twinning told the Penarth Daily News. More interestingly, one of the three men involved in the incident was reported to be the master of the vessel, Mr. Philip Verhoeven.

“I asked the men if they would be in trouble with the captain when they got back and one very sheepishly told me ‘I am the captain,'” Twinning said. He added the three men “were really nice guys.”

While this incident has a happy ending, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has fought for years to end the practice of “drinking and boating.” According to a 2014 report from the USCG, “16 percent of boating fatalities” are related to consuming alcohol. Many boaters are lulled into a false sense of security and believe myths like penalties for boating under the influence are lesser than those given to people caught driving drunk; or that since boats are often recreational vehicles, drinking is part of the experience.

“Jail time, lawsuits, injury, and death can all result from driving a boat drunk,” the USCG report said. “Boozing and boating is definitely a great way to ruin a good time.”


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