A veteran skipper who left his trawler spectacularly grounded on a harbour pier had been drinking, a court heard.
Michael Kinnaid, 59, missed a warning navigational beacon before ramming the obstacle with his boat the Algrie.
Kinnaid, a skipper for 28 years, told magistrates he had been drinking on an empty stomach after suffering food poisioning.
The dramatic accident in Plymouth, Devon happened in front of witnessed and some posted photos on social media.
A lifeboat was scrambled but no-one was injured in the incident.
Kinnaid was breathalysed around two hours later and found to have alcohol in his system but was not over the legal limit.
He pleaded guilty to failing to prevent his ship from causing serious damage to a structure. His case was sent to crown court for sentencing.
Tristan Harwood, defending, said the ‘tide was fully up’ which meant the photos of the incident were ‘misleading’.
He said: “As the tide went out these images make the incident look considerably worse, he didn’t really hit the breakwater, he bumped it.”
The magistrates told Kinnaird: “You made a grave mistake, but the risk of harm is the reason why the case is going to crown court, together with the fact that some alcohol had been consumed.
“You say you suffered from food poisoning, but you had some beer.”