New drink boating law threat

Government drawing up draft regulations

The Government have confirmed they want to bring in drink boating laws for recreational boaters.

The news comes after the RYA and BMF met with officials from the Department of Transport (DfT) for an update on the situation recently.

Blood-alcohol limits for non-professional (recreational) boaters were introduced by Section 80 of the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003, although at present this Section is not in force and it was hoped the issue had dropped off the Government’s radar.

Now the DfT have confirmed they do wish to bring Section 80 in to force, subject to certain exemptions, and are in the process of producing draft regulations.

The RYA and BMF understand that the DfT intend to exempt boaters navigating small, slow craft – but most motorboaters will be affected.

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“We have unresolved concerns regarding which craft will be exempt, which individuals on board would be subject to the blood-alcohol limited and how the rules would be enforced (and by whom), which we do not believe have been addressed properly,” comments RYA legal boss Gus Lewis.

BMF chief executive Howard Pridding says: “Once the draft regulations are published for consultation then we will have a clearer idea as to what precisely is being proposed and if necessary, we will once again raise with the Department our concerns over issues of application and enforcement.”

The draft regulations will be available for public consultation via the DfT website in the next couple of weeks.

The consultation will be open for a period of 12 weeks.

The regulations will also be posted on both the RYA and BMF websites or

The RYA have more about alcohol limits for boaters on their website.


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