BMF say drink boating law could damage industry

And will be difficult to enforce

The British Marine Federation have expressed concern over the plans to implement a pleasure boating alcohol limit, which were announced on Wednesday by the Department for Transport.

The BMF has been in dialogue with the DfT on the issue since the Railways & Transport Act received royal ascent in 2003, attempting to help the Government to understand the size and nature of the UK boating market and the need to exempt certain types of boat to avoid damage to a successful sector of the UK economy.

The DfT has proposed introducing the same limit that commercial mariners and car drivers currently must adhere to – 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – although Government ministers are looking at whether to lower the legal limit from 80mg to 50mg in line with European standards.

That is roughly a half pint of strong beer or one 175ml glass of wine. The government will hold a consultation on drink-drive laws later this year, however no indication has been given that the DfT would seek to redraw the planned boating limit in line with road levels at this stage.

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Meanwhile Howard Pridding, pictured, Executive Director of the British Marine Federation, said: “3.5 million people enjoy boating and watersports in the UK in all types of boat from sailing dinghys through narrowboats moving at 4 mph on the canals to large powerboats. Only an irresponsible minority create problems by going afloat whilst impaired through drink.

“We are concerned that badly framed legislation that will be difficult to enforce will damage a very successful industry that generates annual revenues of £2.8 billion and employs 35,000 people.

“While the BMF will continue to work with Government to try ensure a smooth introduction of alcohol limits for pleasure boating, we are concerned to ensure that the measures will be workable. The infrastructure is simply not in place for implementing the new laws and an appropriate timetable has not been set out. We obviously want to promote responsible pleasure boating but any new regulations must be both balanced and effective.

I now hope we can work in partnership with the Department for Transport to ensure the new laws are implemented in a way that will allow people to continue to enjoy their boating recreation on our coasts and inland waterways and enable the industry to continue to grow and prosper.”


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