Skipper fined for loaded houseboat

Skipper fined for loaded houseboat

Not safe boating

Overloading a boat with people and alcohol is a dangerous and unacceptable mix, according to NSW Maritime. 

Scott Kidd, Regional Manager for the Murray Inland said a recent weekend incident just downstream of Moama on the Murray River highlighted the need for care and commonsense in the run up to the festive season.

“A NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officer recently came across an executive houseboat loaded up with people and beer,” Kidd said.

“The houseboat had a legal limit of 12 people but there were 22 on board.

“They were from Melbourne and on an end-of-season football trip, and had three large beer kegs on the boat.

“Nevertheless, it was clearly loaded beyond its safe limit and did not have enough safety equipment, like lifejackets, for all those on board,” said Kidd.

According to NSW Maritime, the rules for driving under the influence on water were similar to those on the road and the driver must keep under the 0.05 blood alcohol limit.

“Fortunately, the skipper was not intoxicated and was able to navigate the vessel,” Kidd said. “The Maritime officer escorted the vessel back to its mooring where the extra people disembarked.”

The skipper was fined a total of $750 in on-the-spot penalties which included $500 for not complying with permit (overloading) and $250 for not having enough lifejackets.

“Every vessel has its design limits regarding load, and every vessel must carry the required safety gear,” said Kidd.

“And perhaps the most important safety item is the lifejacket, there must be one for every person on board, it must be handy, of appropriate size and in good condition,” he said.