Friday, March 25, 2011

Boating and alcohol

I am the proud holder of a Queensland Government Marine Licence issued in 2006. This permits me to operate all recreational boats powered by a motor over 6hp. It is a lifetime licence. To obtain this licence I had to attend a full day of lectures and then pass both written and practical exams. As a matter of interest Jet ski drivers require the above plus an extra day of assessments.

Two lessons stuck in my mind. The first was that Australians have water police who check boaties leaving port. No licence or incomplete safety gear then back to port you go.

The second was a zero tolerance of alcohol if you are a skipper. If you cannot pass the road breath test while on the water then you loose your boat licence and your car licence. Ditto if you are caught over the limit driving your car you loose both licenses. No ifs and buts. The only time a skipper can drink on the boat is when tied to a wharf, not simply at anchorage.

Why I mention these details is to comment on the recent tragic collision between a jet ski and jetboat in Queenstown. Apparently alcohol was a factor as well as no lifejackets, speed, and lack of knowledge of navigation rules on the river.

Water safety is yet another issue where we are way behind Australia

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