NSW Police Officers to conduct random breath tests of boat skippers

NSW Transport Roads and Maritime services
As part of a statewide boating campaign to start tomorrow boaters around NSW are being reminded it is illegal to drink and operate a boat.

Roads and Maritime Services Acting Director Maritime Melinda McCabe said Roads and Maritime Services Boating Safety Officers would work with NSW Police Officers to conduct random breath tests of boat skippers during the nine day campaign.

'Operation Go Easy on the Drink coincides with the start of summer - when more people go boating - and the party season,' Ms McCabe said.

'It is crucial boat skippers understand the alcohol limit is the same as that on the roads - for the safety of everyone on the water.

'In the past two years alcohol has been a contributing factor in incidents which resulted in six fatalities.

'More than 14,000 random breath tests were carried out on boat skippers by the NSW Police Marine Area Command in 2012-13.

'During this time, 39 skippers were charged for being above the 0.05 prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) limit.

'Boating Safety Officers will take a zero tolerance approach and issue on the spot fines to people who don’t wear a lifejacket where required by law.

'We want to see people get into the habit of putting on a lifejacket in the same way they put on a seat belt - it is simple and could save a life.

'Anyone going boating should also be aware the wind, waves and sun can intensify the effects of alcohol and increase disorientation and the chance of drowning.

'The campaign will continue until Sunday 15 December,' Ms McCabe said.

For information on boating safety click here.