The British Port Association is calling for the alcohol limit law for leisure boaters to be enforced and be in line with the one for commercial mariners in charge of a ship

The British Ports Association (BPA) has called for new legislation to introduce alcohol limits for non-professional boaters, to be in line withe the rules that already exist for commercial ships in British waters.

The BPA has brought forward the plan during the UK’s first Maritime Safety Week.

Commenting on the legislative proposal, the BPA’s Chief Executive, Richard Ballantyne, said: “As it is Maritime Safety Week its right that we revive the debate around the gap in legislation regarding alcohol limits for non-professional mariners. We understand there will be technical challenges to overcome and also that enforcement will not be easy but it cannot be right in this day and age that such a sizeable section of our maritime sector is exempt from drink-drive rules. There have been too many occasions when alcohol has endangered lives in the maritime environment, both within and outside ports and harbours.”

There already is an alcohol limit law for professional boaters and fishermen in charge of commercial ships but there is a loophole for those in the leisure sector.

Sections to introduce drink driving offences for non-professional mariners were included in the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003 however this has never been brought into force.

Continues below…



Richard Ballantyne continued:

“This issue was last seriously looked at a decade ago when there was resistance from parts of the recreational marine community. However times and attitudes are changing and we feel that if the UK Government brought forward proposals now, the marine leisure and yachting sector would be more conducive to change.

“Rules for road users brought about a gradual change in culture for vehicle drivers but without new legislation in the marine environment it is difficult to see how we can drive a similar shift in behaviour. We have raised this with the UK Government and would welcome a constructive discussion with the with organisations such as the Royal Yachting Association and the Cruising Association along with the Department for Transport and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, to look at how legislation might be drafted.”

Maritime Safety Week is a UK Government initiative for the UK maritime sector launched by UK Maritime Minister, Nusrat Ghani MP to promote safety in the marine environment. During the week Government and industry will be able to share knowledge, experience and best practice about what the UK maritime sector is doing to respond to the safety challenges it faces as well as plans for the future.

The Maritime Safety Week runs 9 – 13 July.