Originally Posted by BruceB
I have worn a seat belt on every trip since I was 17, long before it became a mandatory requirement, I also don't drink. However any law has to be enforceable and proportionate to the risk and this one isn't.
Well actually, yes. You are at work not at play and the consequences of an incident potentially far worse. .
I understand where you are coming from as professional seagoers and the prejudice against "leisure" boaters, however I used to go to sea on large working vessels and professionals are not innocents in this respect either. Don't get me started on examples!
So why was the seatbelt law brought in? there was a lot of advertising, remember "clunk click every trip" so if the training advertising route is so effective why did the government decide that we needed a law, because people did not listen to the campaigns and do listen when it affects thier pockets.
Todays seafarers have changed out of all recognition to when you were probably at sea. When I 1st started in 1985 it was more or less maditory to get drunk most nights, and there have been shocking examples, as there is in any industry. However due to a capt joe hazelwood (Exxon Valdez), who was incidentally found not guilty of being drunk in charge, we now have very tight rules. Half the UK driving limit, at all times, when on or off duty. People rarely drink to excess, and we do have alcohol on board, but it is controlled.
We also have random drug testing, and I have not heard of anyone in a company of 25 ships dismissed in the last 5 years due to drugs. Not sure all lesiure boaters could pass a screening test either.
However i do resent the comment that we are predjudiced against the lesiure boaters. I enjoy boating, and although I dont have a RIB at present am actively looking for one, so am I predjudiced against myself? not at all. I do spend half my life on the ocean, and at sea, so a guess i know a little about it, and conditions encountered.
We train the hell out of people, and we are professional. Yes the commercial skippers who drink are getting caught, and they normally go down for it, a year or so is the norm, plus their jobs and salaries are ruined, and rightly so.
However the safety issue is still there for both lesiure and commercial vessel operators. A fully loaded RIB, or sailboat, maybe 6 persons or more, travelling at 30+ knots has the potential to kill them all, plus anyone else they decide to crash into, plus the rescue services have to put themselves at risk as well.
I cannot recall any fatal accident on a commercial vessel that was a cause of the skipper being drunk in the last 5 years, (in British waters) but according to the MAIB, 45 dead in 6 years on lesiure boats where alcohol was a factor, and you tell me it is not a problem?
There have been a number of incidents over the last few years with small vessel running aground, and some collisions mostly where the OOW has been fatigued or tired, and there was recently a small coaster had a collision with a ferry in ireland, but no fatalities. The ones running aground, usually cause damage to the ships, however for lesiure craft damage if people are drunk they would not report it to MAIB, so those figures are not available. Incidentally the guy who was drunk and collided with a ferry is looking at 2 years.... No injuries, and no pollution, but then he deserves being thrown in jail because he gets paid to work on ships.
I just do not see the difference between potentially killing half a dozen on a lesiure boat, or potentially killing people with a merchant ship. They would still be just as dead.
One final point then I suppose if i was driving a car for lesiure that means I dont need to follow the drink drive rules then.........