RYA comments on Department for Transport's announcement to progress with alcohol limit for non-professional mariners 13/6/07

In response to the Department for Transport’s announcement today that they will be pressing ahead with the introduction of an alcohol limit for non-professional mariners, the RYA is puzzled that they are acting now, three years after completing its consultation.

They obviously did not see any need to act immediately at the time, in August 2004. We are certainly not aware of any additional evidence in the last three years that suggests that alcohol related boating incidents have become a significant problem.

The proposed regulations will be applied to the navigation of vessels which are more than 7 metres (about 23ft) in length and/or capable of a maximum speed of over 7 knots. The limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood will be equivalent to that already in existence for professional mariners.

Rod Carr, RYA CEO comments: “The RYA’s view remains unchanged from that of 2004. We believe that new legislation is unnecessary because there is still no evidence of the existence of an extensive problem relating to alcohol and boating.

“However, given that the Government is intent on pressing ahead with the introduction of an alcohol limit for leisure mariners then we will work hard with the Department of Transport to ensure that sensible measures are put in place.

“There are a number of serious issues relating to the proposal, which were brought up during the consultation process, these include;

  • The precise clarification of which boats will be affected and in what circumstances
  • Clarification of which persons on board boats will be affected
  • How the legislation is going enforced and by whom

“The fact that the DfT has stated that the proposed regulations will not apply to jetskis shows how complex this issue is and the difficulties inherent in policing it.”

The RYA continues to work to educate boaters on key safety issues, including alcohol and boating and has been working with harbour masters in this regard.

To see Andrew Bray’s view on the latest proposals click here.