Reveals his motivation for the planned regs

Transport Minister Dr Stephen Ladyman, pictured, has published a statement about his controversial decision to push forward legislation restricting drinking on board leisure boats.

For our original story on the plans click here 

Here is Dr Ladyman’s comment:

“The government is planning to introduce alcohol limits for non-professional mariners. Our aim is to prevent accidents and increase safety on our waterways and around our coast.

“I believe this is a step that simply must be taken to protect the safety and enjoyment of everyone that makes use of the marine environment.

“Once the legislation is in place, it will mean that anyone involved in the navigation of a vessel more than 7m long and/or capable of more than 7 knots will be breaking the law if they are over the drink drive limit of 80 mg/100 ml of blood.

“That will put many leisure users in the same position as professional mariners when it comes to alcohol restrictions.

“The fact is that people have been injured and some have been killed in boating incidents, in which alcohol has played a part.

“I believe that as a responsible government we have a duty to act. We have to make it plain that it is completely unacceptable to be under the influence of any significant amount of alcohol while in charge of a vehicle capable of causing injury, whether it is on the road, in the air, or on the water.

“Some enthusiasts may think these rules are going too far or are aimed at hampering their enjoyment – for example, the narrow boat owners who travel at fairly sedate speeds along Britain’s canals.

“But the momentum created by large boats even at low speeds can crush and maim anyone who gets in the way. And when a boat is moored – you can party as hard as you like.

“I believe that many in the boating world will welcome these proposals.

“For the rest, I can only repeat my view that those in charge of any vehicle that could cause harm have to be in a fit state to operate them safely..

“Indeed, people unfamiliar with the boating world may well wonder how non-professional boat-users have avoided being subject to an alcohol limit for so long.

“The measure is not aimed at stopping people enjoying themselves – if you want to drink while on the water, make sure the boat is moored until the effects of the alcohol wear off. And people who are not involved in navigating the vessel can drink even while it is on the move.

“I want to ensure that people act responsibly when they’re in charge of a vessel that can potentially inflict grave injuries.

“It is difficult to square that position with allowing people to be drunk in charge of a vessel that can travel as fast as a car.

“As such, I hope that people will accept the new law for what it is – a proportionate and reasonable measure aimed at avoiding accidents and making the marine environment safer and more enjoyable for everyone.”