Legislation to go ahead to limit boatowners from navigating while under the influence of alcohol.

Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman announced today that he will be pressing ahead with the introduction of legislation to limit boatowners from navigating while under the influence of alcohol.

A limit of 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood will apply to those persons involved in the navigation of a vessel greater than seven metres in length and/or capable of a maximum speed of more than seven knots.

“Everyone has the right to enjoy themselves on the water, but in a way that does not put others at risk,” said Mr Ladyman. “We have weighed very carefully the results of the consultation exercise and the views of all concerned – leisure sailors, enforcement authorities and accident investigators.”

The regulations will not apply to jetskis because the Court of Appeal has ruled that jet skis are not ships. However Mr Ladyman plans to extend the legislation to them in due course.

The Royal Yachting Association said it was puzzled why the step was being taken now, three years after the Department for Transport completed its consultation on drink boating legislation.

Rod Carr, RYA CEO, said: “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.”

Photo: Stephen Ladyman MP