A proposal to ban ‘drink driving’ of boats has been adopted by Transport Minister Noel Dempsey, after Fine Gael Transport Spokesman Fergus O’Dowd presented new legislation to the Oireachtas.
Deputy O’Dowd proposed that anyone travelling on a sea vessel boat should be subject to the same alcohol restrictions as a motorist.
“I am delighted that Minister Dempsey has accepted my proposal, which will make ‘drink driving’ at sea an offence for the first time. Lowering blood alcohol levels will save lives and protect seafarers.
“There is currently no legal alcohol limit for anyone on a vessel, be they master or crew. The Minister has indicated that he will seek to have this loophole addressed in the Merchant Shipping Bill, which is currently being passed into law.
“Last year the Marine Casualty Investigation Board recommended that greater emphasis be placed on the danger of alcohol consumption by crews on all vessels. This came on foot of a serious marine tragedy.
“The Board’s report asked the Department of Transport to consider a breath test and to set maximum blood alcohol levels for seafarers on duty. There is currently a complete absence of legislation in this area.”