From the editor

What's with this government?

What is it with this Government? First they ban our red diesel now they’re after our drinks locker. It’s almost as if they are deliberately trying to spoil our enjoyment of the pastime we hold so dear.

I wouldn’t mind so much if it wasn’t so completely pointless. In fact, pointless doesn’t begin to cover it. It’s just plain stupid. The trouble is that on a superficial level it all sounds perfectly logical, which is all that politicians really care about.
Let’s face it, nobody thinks that racing around a crowded cove at 30 knots
in a 12-tonne sportscruiser after eight pints of lager is a good idea. So the Government’s solution is to pass a law against it. Job done.

Except that people who own boats don’t get pissed and race around crowded coves because we’re responsible enough to know that it’s not big or clever. That’s why over the past five years an average of just 1.5 people have died each year in leisure boat accidents in which alcohol was a contributory factor. That doesn’t mean it was the only factor or even that it was the navigator of the boat who was drunk and caused the accident. Yet the Government feels that by criminalising everybody who enjoys a glass of wine with their lunch before pottering back to their berths, it might just save the lives of the one-and-a-half silly buggers who fall off their dinghy and drown after a night on the town. On that basis, bathtubs should be banned immediately because it would save the 20 or so people who accidentally drown in their bath each year.

And that’s before you even question the stupidity of a law that only targets people with boats over 7m in length or that are capable of more than seven knots. Because obviously a boat of 7.1m is much more dangerous than a boat of 6.9m. Oh and, of course, PWCs are free to carry on doing whatever the hell they like because there’s no way a three-person wet-bike travelling at 60 knots could hurt anyone. It’s like allowing motorcycle riders to drink and ride because they are smaller and less dangerous.

The whole thing is mind-boggling. Are they going to employ teams of police on PWCs patrolling harbour entrances spot-checking anyone who isn’t cruising in a straight line (erm, that’ll be the tide, officer)? Or will they just turn every lock-keeper into a vigilante armed with a breathalisers and a Tasar gun to subdue unruly commodores. And when they do nick someone what are they going to
do – take away their licence? Oh, hang on, we don’t have one those – yet.

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No, the only sane reason for having this law is to prosecute someone who has caused an accident after drinking and driving in their boat, and yet that law already exists. It’s enough to drive us all to drink.


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