Statewide operation to focus on random breath testing of boaters

7 November 2014

Boat operators will be reminded the prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) is the same on the water as on our roads in a joint statewide Roads and Maritime Services and NSW Police campaign from tomorrow.

Roads and Maritime Services Maritime Director Angus Mitchell said Operation Go Easy on the Alcohol will bring Roads and Maritime Services boating safety officers together with NSW Police officers for joint safety patrols which will include random breath testing on NSW waterways.

“The operation from Saturday 8 to Sunday 16 November aims to remind all vessel operators of the need to remain below 0.05 PCA or face fines, possible jail time and the loss of their boat licence,” Mr Mitchell said.

“With the party season fast approaching it is important to remind all boaters of their responsibilities in keeping safe their passengers as well as others out sharing the harbours, lakes, dams and rivers.”

In 2013-14 more than 17,000 random breath tests were carried out on vessel operators in NSW with 23 people fined for having a PCA above the legal limit.

“Any person operating a moving vessel can be breath tested,” Mr Mitchell said.

“Random breath testing does not apply when the vessel is moored or anchored. However, there should always be a responsible person on board – a designated driver – who can legally operate the vessel if conditions or other factors require the vessel to be moved.

Mr Mitchell said skippers needed to be aware the wind, waves and the sun can combine to multiply the effects of alcohol, which in turn can increase the chances of becoming disoriented and drowning.

“As with all boating operations, there will also be a focus on lifejacket awareness and ensuring boaters are aware of their legal requirements to wear or carry on board lifejackets, depending on the conditions, the boat and location.

“Wearing a lifejacket never ruined a day on the water,” he said.

For more information on safe boating visit the Maritime section

CONTACT: Roads and Maritime Services Media Unit:  8588 5999

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