Boaties warned to go easy on the drink


NSW Ports and Waterways Minister Paul McLeay has reminded boat skippers to take care this festive season and stay under the limit, what with around 30 per cent of all boating fatalities said to involve alcohol.

McLeay said a legal blood alcohol limit of 0.05 applies on the waterways just as it does on the roads.

“With the festive season approaching it is time to remind all skippers they risk heavy penalties for drink driving,” McLeay said.

“By law, the skipper of every boat is responsible for the safety of their vessel and all on board. Consuming alcohol can blur that responsibility through ‘boater’s fatigue’ where the combination of sun, wind, waves multiplies the effects of alcohol.

“I would like to remind all skippers to go easy when it comes to alcohol, keep under 0.05, and stay alive.”

McLeay said NSW Maritime regularly runs joint patrols with police, conducting random breath tests on the water, at boat ramps, and marinas after a day’s boating.

Penalties for non-compliance can range from fines from between $1100 to $5500, loss of licence, and a gaol term of up to two years through the courts.

“More than 447,000 people in NSW hold a licence to drive a powerboat and while the vast majority do the right thing, there are a small percentage who either flout or ignore the rules for safe boating,” McLeay said.

“I call on all skippers, and that includes the many thousands in non-powered craft, to be responsible this summer when it comes to alcohol and boating.”

For more information on boating safety, go to