A Porirua man who drowned after falling overboard while urinating off a boat in the Marlborough Sounds was at least three times the legal alcohol limit for driving.
Coroner Carla na Nagara's finding into the death of Patrick Rosson, known as Paddy, on August 27 last year has been released.
Ms na Nagara said Mr Rosson had been with his friend, Gordon Hanna, at Mr Hanna's home in Dryden Bay, Queen Charlotte Sound.
The pair left the house in Mr Hanna's launch to tour Queen Charlotte Sound.
They visited Furneaux Lodge where they had some beers.
Staff later said Mr Rosson left seeming moderately drunk.
They then went to another friend's house and drank more beer before leaving at 5.30pm to head home to watch a rugby test on television.
Mr Rosson fell asleep in the cabin but at 7pm, as they were almost back to Dryden Bay, he went outside to urinate over the side of the boat.
He fell overboard which Mr Hanna noticed when the boat shifted. Going outside, he confirmed his friend was not on the boat so turned around and saw Mr Rosson in the water with his hand up.
Going past he threw a rope, which Mr Rosson missed. By the time he got the boat alongside again, Mr Rosson was face-down in the water.
Ms na Nagara noted that Mr Rosson's blood alcohol limit was just short of three times the legal driving limit, and his urine limit was higher still, indicating he had been more drunk earlier on.
''Sadly, Mr Rosson's death serves as another reminder of the very real risk implicit in being intoxicated on boats, and it is not the first such case I have dealt with.''
If Mr Rosson had been wearing a life jacket he may have lived, but if he had not been drunk he likely would not have fallen in.
Police said there were no suspicious circumstances in the death.
After his death, Mr Rosson's brother Paul said his brother was a "good soul" who was fun to be with, sincere and honest.
Another brother, Mike, said he had worked as a steward on ships that included the Niwa ship Tangaroa and a container ship that had travelled the world. Many in his family had worked at sea.
"The old man was at sea all of his life ... salt must be running through the veins."
Mr Rosson gave up sea work about 1994 and was a business partner in the Marina Motor Lodge in Mana before he died.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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