Government officials confirm drink-sail plans

Neil Northmore (RYA Government Affairs Adviser) and Howard Pridding (Executive Director, British Marine Federation) have met with Department for Transport officials to discuss government proposals to introduce alcohol regulations for non-professional mariners.

Officials confirmed that ministers are committed to bringing in alcohol limits and breathalysing for recreational boaters, similar to that found on the roads.

It had been announced that the draft regulations would be produced before the Parliamentary summer recess which starts this Friday. However, officials confirmed yesterday that in fact the regulations would not be drafted until autumn this year at the earliest and would be followed by a public consultation. The Government would like to have the new regulations in place by the start of the 2008 summer season.

Neil and Howard reiterated the concerns that both the RYA and BMF had expressed during the original consultation on alcohol limits back in 2004 and stressed the need for the new regulations, if they are to be introduced, to be fair and enforceable. These include which recreational craft would be affected and in what circumstances who on board boats would be breathalysed how the regulations would be enforced, by whom and what powers would they have.

The two organisations will be working with the Department for Transport in order to safeguard the interests and rights of recreational boaters and the marine industry.

The proposed law would apply to boats over 7m long or capable of over 7 knots.