Alcohol rules for leisure mariners move a step closer

Alcohol rules for leisure mariners moved a step closer today as Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick launched a consultation on draft Regulations that will govern which vessels will come under the scope of the offence of being over the limit.

Following an extensive consultation, the Government announced in 2007 that it would introduce similar alcohol restrictions for leisure mariners to those in place for professional seafarers. The alcohol limit being introduced for leisure mariners is the same as the drink drive limit: 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood and will apply to those persons involved in the navigation of a vessel.

The Government proposes that the offence should affect larger, faster vessels while providing an exemption for a limited number of smaller, slower craft. The consultation launched today seeks views on the draft Regulations that would exempt non-professional mariners on ships which are less than 7 metres and a maximum design speed of 7 knots or less.

Jim Fitzpatrick said:

"The Government takes alcohol abuse at sea very seriously. Everyone has the right to enjoy themselves on the water, but not in a way that puts others at risk.

The limited exemption at 7 metres and 7 knots is designed to provide the best balance between improving safety and avoiding unnecessary regulation. I welcome people's views on the draft regulations."

The exemption will not affect the separate offence of being impaired through drink and drugs while navigating a ship.

The Department for Transport intends to introduce the two offences for leisure mariners in late 2009 subject to Parliamentary approval for the new Regulations.

Date Added - 11-Feb-2009

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