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RYA HIT OUT AT PROPOSED ALCOHOL LAWS

Monday February 16th, 2009
ImageIn the ongoing debate about the proposed introduction of new alcohol laws for pleasure boaters the RYA have hit out at the Department of Transport, claiming the legislation is badly drafted. RYA’s government and legal affairs adviser had this to say about the consultation, 'First and foremost, the RYA does not condone being drunk whilst in charge of a boat. The RYA also supports the DfT's proposals to exempt certain craft from the application of the legislation.

'However, the RYA believes that the DfT's proposals are badly drafted in that few, if any, boaters are likely to be aware of the theoretical 'maximum design speed' of their craft. We want to make sure that any new rules are clear, sensible and readily understandable.

'Given the uncertainty as to who on board a vessel is likely to be subject to the prescribed alcohol limits, in our view it is all the more important that the exemption is clearly defined.'

According to the RYA the DfT have used unreliable statistical evidence when drafting their report. There claim that 'significant proportion of drowning cases and hospital admissions relating to water-related transport are alcohol-related' has been based on a 12year-old piece of estimated research conducted in Australia and Canada. In truth there is no recent UK-based research into alcohol-related deaths at sea or on inland waterways. The UK actually has a very good track record in boating safety. The RYA regards the new laws as unnecessary as there is no evidence in existence that there is a problem. It will simply incur extra expense and be virtually impossible to police effectively.
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