A cargo ship was boarded by police and safety investigators after locals reported they had seen its skipper drinking.
Dutchman Gert Kolkman was breathalysed and arrested as he was preparing to take his 300ft coaster Sandetti out of Teignmouth Docks, Exeter Crown Court was told.
Kolkman, both captain and part-owner of the ship, failed a breath test an hour before it was due to leave on Saturday evening.
Kolkman, of Holingen, Holland, admitted being a professional mariner of a ship while over the prescribed limit. He was jailed for 60 days, suspended for 18 months, and ordered not to drink alcohol in the 24 hours before he was due to set sail from any port in the UK.
Nigel Wraith, prosecuting, said the authorities were tipped off that Kolkman, 51, was under the influence of alcohol on board the 2,088-tonne vessel. When police boarded the ship Kolkman smelt of liquor but said he had not had a drink since the night before.
He was taken to Torquay police station and registered 53 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit at sea and while driving on land is 35 micrograms.
Kevin Hopper, defending, said Kolkman had spent five days in custody since his arrest. He added the five-man crew would have to be paid during the time the vessel has been impounded at Teignmouth and Kolkman would also have to pay 2,000 euros-a-day harbour fees and £3,000 to release the ship from its detention.