QRBC Update – Alcohol & Drug Rules

by | May 27, 2016 | Boating

Alcohol and drug rules

A Question was recently raised regarding the linkages between driver and marine licenses – if a motor vehicle driving licence is cancelled or suspended for exceeding .05 is your marine licence automatically suspended?

Answer – Although a driver’s licence may indicate the holder has a marine licence, the marine licence is still valid.  In Queensland at present, licenses are covered by two pieces of separate legislation, this may be reviewed in the near future as part of the Transport & Main Roads & Maritime Safety Queensland integration and standardisation of safety rules.

However, in the interim it’s worth reminding ourselves as boaties what the drug and alcohol rules are;

  • Drinking alcohol and being under the influence of drugs reduces your ability to boat safely.
  • Drinking alcohol and being under the influence of drugs reduces your ability to boat safely.
  • Alcohol and drugs affect your judgement, vision, coordination and reflexes—increasing your risk of having a marine incident.
  • Sun, heat, wind, waves and constant motion can increase these effects of alcohol and drugs. Reflexes and response times in emergencies are slowed and swimming ability reduces a lot.

Alcohol on recreational ships

The skipper of a recreational boat must have a blood alcohol limit of less than 0.05.

The skipper is also responsible for the safety of passengers and their alcohol consumption.

Skippers of recreational boats should also be aware that, the limit is still 0.05 even when your boat is at anchor, unless the boat is securely moored in a marina, to a jetty or wharf or on a swing mooring.

Read more about alcohol limits in Queensland ( http://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/road-safety/drink-driving/blood-alcohol/index.html ) and the effects of alcohol on driving.

Alcohol on commercial vessels

The alcohol rules for commercial vessels are different from those for recreational boats.

The master of a class 1 commercial ship must have a blood alcohol limit of 0.

The master of all other classes of commercial ships (class 2, 3 and 4) must have a blood alcohol limit of less than 0.05.

However, it is recommended that all commercial skippers have a blood alcohol limit of 0 as part of their general safety duty.

Drug rules

Police can also ask you to provide a saliva sample to detect the presence of:

  • Methylamphetamine—also known as speed and ice
  • MDMA—the active ingredient in ecstasy
  • THC—the active ingredient in cannabis.

There is zero tolerance for driving or boating under the influence of drugs. Read more information on drugs and driving ( http://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/road-safety/drink-driving/drugs/index.html ), including penalties, the testing process and effects of drugs.

Suspension of a marine licence

If you have  a recreational marine licence and are convicted of any drink or drug driving offence involving operating a recreational vessel under section 79 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 ( http://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/T/TrantOpRUA95.pdf ) (PDF, 1.2MB), your marine licence can be cancelled or suspended.

Get more information about disqualification from holding a marine licence ( http://www.msq.qld.gov.au/Licensing/Marine-licence-disqualification ).

If you hold a commercial marine qualification and are convicted of a drink or drug driving offence, this information will be provided to  the National Regulator, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), who may consider whether the person is a fit and proper person to continue to hold that marine qualification.