Spot DUI checks on the water? - Soundings Online

Spot DUI checks on the water?

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Recreational boaters in Tasmania are upset about proposed legislation that calls for random alcohol and drug testing of boat operators.

If passed, the legislation would permit police to conduct random tests on boat operators, test and analyze blood samples of people involved in boating accidents if they are suspected of having consumed alcohol. It would be illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol level exceeding .05 percent.

“To me, this is just another nail in the coffin,” Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania vice commodore Scott Price says in the report. “Too many rules and regulations — and if they are policing it to the letter — will really take the fun out of boating.”

Price, a sailor for more than 40 years, says he’s concerned about boaters who pull into an anchorage, maybe have a few alcoholic drinks, and need to relocate when the weather turns bad. “Will they still be able to take the blood test if you have moved for safety,” Price asks in the report. “Do they have the ability to take you off your boat — do you leave the wife, children and boat to come to Hobart [Tasmania] for the blood test?”

“You just can’t compare the traffic on the road to the traffic on the water,” Price says in the report.

Residents have until May 5 to submit comments about the draft legislation, according to the report.

— Jason Fell