The conditions on the water can add to the effects of alcohol on a person’s reaction time and coordination. If you are out on the water these holidays and enjoying a few drinks, make sure you stay safe and keep in mind the alcohol limits that also apply to boating.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are the driver, skipper or being towed by a boat.
For recreational vessels, the alcohol limits are:
Just like with drink-driving offences on the road, there are also corresponding offences under the Marine Safety Act 1998 (NSW) for controlling a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or exceeding the allowable alcohol limits.
If operating a vessel in any waters, it is an offence to exceed the alcohol limits or operate the vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If the person driving the vessel is under the age of 16, the supervisor must also be under the limit.
The master of the vessel (i.e. the skipper) must not permit a person to operate a vessel if the master is aware or has reasonable cause to believe that the person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Water skiing, aquaplaning and paraflying
If you are on a water ski, aquaplane, paraflying or being towed by a vessel on any device, it is also an offence to exceed the alcohol limits. The same applies for the designated observer of a person being towed.
Marine Police can conduct a Random Breath Test on you if you are the driver, supervisor, being towed or the observer.
If you are found to be in excess of the limit, police may immediately suspend your boat driving licence and/or issue you with a court attendance notice.
The applicable penalty will depend on how much alcohol is detected. Offences of this nature are punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment and also carry automatic licence disqualification periods.
If you are interested in finding out more information or have been charged with a boating-related offence, contact us on 9025 9888 to speak with one of our criminal law specialists.
Photo credit: Sydney.com