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Old 20 July 2006, 06:42   #1
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Drinking and boating

I live in the Norfolk Broads. There is currently a lot of debate going on with the issue of drinking and boating. Currently there are no laws or regulations at all which govern drinking and driving a boat. There is a lot of pressure on the Broads Authority (the government organisation responsible with managing and policing the Broads) at the moment to make a new regulation similar to that which governs drivers of cars which states that they cannot be in charge of a boat whilst over the drink-drive limit.

Here are some arguments for and against the ban which I have heard:
How do you ban/penalize a drink/(boat)driver when you don't need a license to drive a boat?
A Broads’s cruiser traveling at 5mph cannot be compared to a car traveling at 70mph.
A drink ban will reduce numbers of people on the Broads further.
A ban will save lives.

My personal opinion is that people should be allowed to consume alcohol in moderation. I think the key issue that people are ignoring is that the main cause of death in Broads related accidents is drowning (as opposed to collision etc). There is a separate argument brewing, to make lifejackets mandatory on the Broads. I think the later is key to supposing the argument for not bringing in a drink/drive law - if people were wearing lifejackets and fell in the water after a pint or two they are much less likely to die than without.

The argument also fails to cover drinkers who are not actually in charge of boats. One of Norwich's biggest bar/club areas is next to the river. Around 10 people have drowned in the river here over the last 5 years as a result of coming out of clubs and bars absolutely plastered and falling in the river. A lifeboat has now been set up to patrol the area on Friday and Saturday nights. After the last England football match they pulled 9 people out of the water....

Based on this I think a drink/drive law would fail to protect the people it was designed to protect and that it misses the point slightly.

What are people’s opinions?
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Old 20 July 2006, 07:17   #2
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Why can't they just leave things alone? Has there been a large increase in people drowning all of a sudden?

The powers that be just can't leave things alone any more. Our local harbour have just put a barrier across a slipway - incase someone drives down it by mistake!!! Nobody has managed it in 60 years but they have to act!!!
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Old 20 July 2006, 07:23   #3
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People have always been drowning on the Broads. The key issue is that the role of the Authority is changing. There is some sort of consultation going on to see how the Broads Authority needs to adapt to mange the Broads as it "evolves". This involves changing some of the outdated regulations and bringing in some new ones. The local press seems to have joined the bandwagon for introducing the ban too which doesn’t help. A guy died two weeks ago on the river near me after he went sailing in a little Mirror dinghy after drinking 6 pints. He fell in and wasn’t able to swim back to the boat or to the shore. This is their latest “weapon” for introducing a ban. Of course, if he had been wearing a lifejacket he wouldn’t have drowned.
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Old 20 July 2006, 08:49   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim M
if people were wearing lifejackets and fell in the water after a pint or two they are much less likely to die than without.
Agreed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim M
One of Norwich's biggest bar/club areas is next to the river. Around 10 people have drowned in the river here over the last 5 years as a result of coming out of clubs and bars absolutely plastered and falling in the river.
Clearly the answer is compulsory lifejackets in riverside bars and clubs!
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Old 20 July 2006, 09:29   #5
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There was an article about drinking & boating in the Sunday Times last weekend. It appears that the government are minded to introduce some form of legislation...

Hopefully this link works:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...272149,00.html

Cheers ( )

Ian.
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Old 20 July 2006, 09:31   #6
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I don't have any sympathy for people who hurt themselves when they're pissed. I don't think anyone should protect me for my actions. However, there has to be some way to deter the idiots who injure others because of there disregard for a modicum of sense and safety.

Perhaps if a drink/drive law is introduced then it should have a more acceptable limit for alcohol than we do on the roads. Maybe 4 units being ok rather than 2. Problem I see is that it is the usual thin edge of the wedge and they'll just end up dropping it to 2 units after a while. Bloody nanny state!
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Old 20 July 2006, 10:27   #7
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Personally I don't care if there is a limit or not.

Whether its in my car or on my boat, the safety of my passengers and myself comes before having a drink and always will. Thats just common sense to me.

There are so many bullsh*t laws in this country, no wonder common sense seems to be on the decrease.
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Old 20 July 2006, 10:31   #8
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It appears that the government are minded to introduce some form of legislation...
"officials are unsure how to enforce new laws, because yachting is unlicensed in Britain"

You can see what's coming next!
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Old 20 July 2006, 10:45   #9
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If it doesn't cost any money then the Government will eventually implement it.
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Old 20 July 2006, 10:49   #10
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I totally agree with Phil

But unlike us there are idiots out there that think they can drink all night in a bar then take their friends and family home in a powerboat, well actually any boat.
Clearly have no thought for their own safety or anyones elses.

Normally, like with drink driving in a car, it all goes the way of the pear they walk away with minor cuts yet the others with them either end up badly injured or worse!
Or they hit some poor bystander minding their own business!!

They could enforce it by removing their car licence if the drink and use a boat.
Make the limits the same as for car driving.

IMHO anyone who drinks and drives knows they are doing it, if they kill someone it should be a murder charge as its premeditated to drink and then drive some vehicle that can kill!

I also am in favour of life jackets being compusory, like in Ireland.

Please don't get me wrong I am not a kill joy and I love and enjoy having fun as much as the next man but I think some things could do with change for everyones safety.

Right will get off my soap box now!!

Regards
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Old 20 July 2006, 12:17   #11
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Sorry Jon but totally disagree.

The vast majority of drowning deaths are by non boating people - Richard B sums it up perfectly - make people wear lifejackets to pubs and clubs!!!

Why should I be forced to wear a life jacket if I don't want to? Same as a seat belt when I am driving - by not doing so the only person I will hurt is myself. Again with motorbikes and crash helmets.

What happens when someone decides we should all wear suits of armour lined with cotton wool? Would you be in favour of that as well???

Also what sort of boats should be covered? What about someone rowing back from a pub to their yacht in a little dinghy? Where do you draw the line???
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Old 20 July 2006, 12:40   #12
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Why should I be forced to wear a life jacket if I don't want to? Same as a seat belt when I am driving - by not doing so the only person I will hurt is myself. Again with motorbikes and crash helmets.
Because its the law..... You might not agree with it but unfortunatly our legal system deictates that you must. Most laws are there for our protection. I realise that you have to draw a line at some point otherwise you end up with a nanny state, but surly something that WOULD save lives has got to be a good idea. Not to mention the money, time and resources that go into a rescue/recovery of a dead body.
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Old 20 July 2006, 12:42   #13
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What about someone rowing back from a pub to their yacht in a little dinghy?
I fail to see your point there. Are you saying that people coming back from the pub in a dinghy are less at risk than someone else in a gin palace (or should that be orange juice palace)?
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Old 20 July 2006, 13:15   #14
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Same as a seat belt when I am driving - by not doing so the only person I will hurt is myself. Again with motorbikes and crash helmets.
Well not quite actually - you cost me (a taxpayer) an awful lot money by having a fatal road accident or seriously injuring yourself. The same applies to not wearing a life jacket.

The problem yachties would likely object to is not the rowing back from the pub after a pint or 6 (and I think they are more likely to fall out a small dinghy when pissed than a big boat) but can they anchor and drink half a bottle of wine? What if the wind changes and the anchor drags.
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Old 20 July 2006, 13:33   #15
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Well not quite actually - you cost me (a taxpayer) an awful lot money by having a fatal road accident or seriously injuring yourself. The same applies to not wearing a life jacket.

The problem yachties would likely object to is not the rowing back from the pub after a pint or 6 (and I think they are more likely to fall out a small dinghy when pissed than a big boat) but can they anchor and drink half a bottle of wine? What if the wind changes and the anchor drags.

So why not ban all dangerous sports? You could ban rock climbing - you could ban mountain biking - you could ban water skiing - after all nobody HAS to do these things do they? And when things go wrong it costs the taxpayer a fortune!!!
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Old 20 July 2006, 14:25   #16
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So why not ban all dangerous sports? You could ban rock climbing - you could ban mountain biking - you could ban water skiing - after all nobody HAS to do these things do they? And when things go wrong it costs the taxpayer a fortune!!!
Because you are looking at it from too narrow a perspective. All those sports contribute to the UK ecconomy (as does beer consumption which may be part of the reason its not been banned!) and so there is a benefit at local and national levels from these sports. Many areas already have restrictions on water skiing to contain it in safe areas (or more importantly out of dangerous ones). There are rules on bicycle use on the roads.

I'm not sure I would describe either water skiing or mountain biking as particularly dangerous sports (i'm not suggesting accidents don't happen - just that I don't think you picked great examples). The majority of people wear helmets when cycling on the roads so have self regulated much better than the boating community with life jackets. I think by and large serious mountain bikers always wear helmets where they believe there is risk.

Your rock climbing analogy is much better I think anyone who participates in outdoor rock climbing (including myself) and especially those who lead climbs would recognise that it is dangerous. Whilst people do get hurt and killed doing it I think that most mountain rescues will not be to experienced well equipped climbers - but rather to ill equipped walkers (the boating analogy may be not having/using life jackets). Interestingly there is a bit of a similar debate in the climbing community about helmets with the "why should I wear a helmet if I don't want to arguments" although there is no threat of legislation yet.

I don't climb (outdoors) with people who refuse to wear helmets and I won't sail with someone who would refuse to wear a life jacket on my boat.

I think the reasons for not bringing in legislation on life jackets are - when is it not necessary? Is there some size of boat where it is considered OK to work on the deck without a lifejacket?
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Old 20 July 2006, 14:28   #17
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Codprawn your post here cant really be taken seriously , anything to do with ,laws or Government, rules etc you have a problem with
In that respect already your opinion is biased.
If you dont wear a lifejacket, you have no place on a boat, dont just argue for the sake of it.
Maritime safety rules are there for a reason, respect Mr Blairs Governments wishes and abide by them, by falling in and not having a pfd, you cost me money
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Old 20 July 2006, 14:53   #18
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Always worn a seat belt, always worn a helmet when riding motorcycles: legislation didn't worry me because I always saw the absolute good sense in both. Likewise I've always worn a lifejacket when getting to and from boats and whilst on the water - applying those same rules to anyone on my boat.

There's a fine line between freedom of choice and being a prat.
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Old 20 July 2006, 15:00   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codprawn

The powers that be just can't leave things alone any more. Our local harbour have just put a barrier across a slipway - incase someone drives down it by mistake!!! Nobody has managed it in 60 years but they have to act!!!
Yeah but a fair proportion of the Welsh drivers (usually around Rhondda/Swansea area on the M4) don't seem to have figured out that you're not supposed to drive on the hard shoulder for 20 miles... Can you really blame them?


I do share your views on this fekkin nanny state though Codders. It's time we got rid of the self-satisfied overlegislative fatcat Red Tories.
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Old 20 July 2006, 15:06   #20
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Things seem to work pretty well on the non-tidal Thames and there are no major problems. In the Port of London the routinely breathalise skippers for erratic and stupid behaviour.

Each year a few people are caught out and pay about a grand fine. That their fault for being stupid. Driving a RIB at high speed is something nobody should do whilst tanked.

It is more to do with the attitude to alcohol in general rather than boating. Most 16-30 year olds are unable to drink in moderation and/or consider being paralytic a good way to spend an evening. That unfortunately is the real cause of the problem. If the idea of restricting sales of alchol is lifted and it is made illegal to serve somebody drunk is enforced then the problem will pretty much solve itself and have positive implications on the boating sector.

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