Boaters around NSW are reminded the blood alcohol limit on the water is the same as on the road – 0.05 - as part of a statewide boating campaign starting tomorrow. Roads and Maritime Services Executive Director Maritime Angus Mitchell said Roads and Maritime Services Boating Safety Officers would work with NSW Police Officers to carry out random breath tests of boat skippers during a nine day campaign. “Operation Alcohol and Water Don’t Mix coincides with the start of summer and the party season - when more people go boating,” Mr Mitchell said. “It is crucial boat skippers understand the alcohol limit is the same as on the road - for the safety of everyone on the water.
“Anyone going boating should also be aware the wind, waves and sun can intensify the effect of alcohol, increase disorientation and the chance of drowning.
“When afloat, your coordination, judgement, vision, balance and reaction time can decline up to three times faster consuming alcohol. The boating environment amplified by waves, motion, vibration, engine noise, weather, wind and spray can multiply the effects of alcohol.”
Mr Mitchell said everyone aboard needs to take care because studies have shown boat passengers are just as likely as operators to be involved in incidents such as capsizing the vessel or falling overboard as a result of drinking alcohol.
“Operators of vessels which are underway may be subject to random breath testing and subject to heavy penalties if found to be over the limit. The operator of a vessel includes anyone steering or exercising control over its course or direction and includes the observer in a vessel which is towing people as well as anyone being towed.”
“Boating Safety Officers will take a zero tolerance approach and issue on the spot fines to people who don’t wear a lifejacket where required by law,” he said.
For more information on boating safety visit http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime/safety-rules/rules-regulations/alcohol.html Media Release