Captain Sandy From ‘Below Deck Med’ Recalls This Crazy Practice in Florida When She Was a Teen

During a serious discussion about addiction, Captain Sandy Yawn from Below Deck Mediterranean cited one reason why obtaining alcohol was so easy for her when she was a teen.

When Yawn and chief stew Hannah Ferrier appeared on the Below Deck Med After Show she discussed her battle with addiction. A recent episode featured Yawn creating a safe space to connect with deckhand Travis Michalzik. Michalzik is clearly struggling with exhaustion and drinking far too much on his nights off.

Sandy Yawn
Sandy Yawn|Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

She shares she had a problem with alcohol when she was younger so she knows what it is like to battle that demon. In the After Show, she reveals how easy it was for a teenager to obtain alcohol in the 1980s.

She could buy booze when she was a teen

Up until the 1980s, many states continued to allow 18 and 19-year-olds legally purchase alcohol. Florida, which is where Yawn grew up, was one of the last few states to increase the drinking age to 21. According to the Sun-Sentinel, the state boosted the drinking age from 19 to 21 in 1985.

Yawn recalls she was still able to purchase alcohol when she was 17. “I grew up in a state where at 17 years old, you could drink,” she recalls. “And we had drive-through daiquiri bars.”

She continues, “You could drive through, order, your daiquiri and drive away. Who does that?” She laughs, “Florida! Mississippi!” Yawn adds, “I kept getting arrested for drinking and driving. And then one day I finally woke up and said I want off the merry go round.”

Wait … drive-through daiquiri bars?

Florida isn’t known as being a vacation hot spot only because of Disney World. Drive-through alcohol bars are a thing in some states like Florida or Louisiana. A writer from Paste Magazine reflected on what it’s like to hit one of these joints after she moved from New York City to Louisiana. “I quickly learned that daiquiris are Louisiana’s unofficial drink of choice,” she wrote. “Forget hurricanes and hand grenades on Bourbon Street. Those are for the tourists. Daiquiris are where it’s at.”

Spring Breakers celebrate St.Patricks Day on Fort Lauderdale Beach
Spring Breakers celebrate St.Patricks Day on Fort Lauderdale Beach.|Michele Eve Sandberg/Corbis via Getty Images

When the writer hit the daquiri bar with a friend, she ended up being confronted with this ethical dilemma.  “As my friend once said, during my inaugural drive through daiquiri run, ‘We’re not going to drink it while we’re driving, we’re just going to go get it,'” she recalled. “’Then what are we going to do with it?'” Her friend suggested going to a stop and then drinking the cocktail.

Of course, a drive-through bar is probably the worst idea ever

It’s no wonder that Yawn was arrested for drinking and driving if this was an option for a teen. Access to alcohol, coupled with a hard home life set Yawn up for destruction as a child. Her mother was an alcoholic and her parents split when she was young.  “It was hard to watch,” she told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “My father left when we were eight years old. So we would spend the summers with my father and he was normal. He didn’t drink. He just couldn’t take it anymore and I didn’t blame him.”

So she turned to alcohol to numb her pain. “I never really talked about my recovery,” she says. “I remember getting arrested for drinking and driving and was court-ordered to detox as a 17-year-old.” Thankfully she turned her life around when she was 25 years old. That was 29 years ago and she hasn’t had a drink since.