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Alcohol Limits & Breath Testing On The Water


How many times have you heard someone say "My mate got done DUI on the weekend."? 

To be accurate, the term should actually be PCA an not DUI.  PCA stands for Prescribed Content of Alcohol and relates to an offence which normally involves being breath tested out in the field and then being subjected to a test on a Breath Anaysis (BAS) machine.  The BAS machine is highly accurate with a few redundancies built in so your reading is actually slightly lower than your actual blood alcohol level. 

I always say there is a time and place for everything.  When it comes to alcohol, that time and place is when you are finished up for the day and off the water.  


Did you know that in NSW, the Driver/Master of the vessel as well as the Observer and any person being towed can all be subjected to a breath test?  Yep, that is the Driver, Observer and the Skier or Aquaplaner can all be breath tested.  Why?  The Driver obviously has control of the vessel but the Observer and person being towed are deemed to also have some sort of control over the vessel in that they can instruct or ask the Driver to speed up, slow down, alter course and the like.

NSW Police Officers have the power to subject any of these persons to a breath test at any time.

The legal blood alcohol limits in NSW are -

Over 18 years of age - 0.05 grams of alcohol in 100 ml of blood or 0.05 grams of alcohol in 210 litres of exhaled air.  So in short 0.05.

Under the age of 18 years - 0.00 


Vic Police Officers have the power to subject the Driver, Observer and anyone being towed to a random breath test at any time.

Whilst the actual limits of 0.05 and 0.00 are the same in Victoria, there are significant differences in the ages associated with these limits.

The legal blood alcohol limits in Victoria are -

Over the age of 21 - 0.05

Under the age of 21 - 0.00


Another very common question is, "Will I lose my car licence as well if I lose my boat licence for a drug or alcohol related offence?"

At the time of writing the answer is no in NSW.  I will have to do some research in relation to other states.   I believe it is only a matter of time before your car and boat licence are fully combined in NSW.

There always seems to be some relief when I tell people this which indicates that the consumption of alcohol on the water is still prevalent.  Just remember, the driver, observer and person being towed are all obliged to stay under the legal limit.  If you are charged with and found guilty of an alcohol or drug related offence, you will end up with an entry on your criminal record.  If you are planning of going overseas to say America or Canada you will not get a Visa and will not be allowed into the country.  You may find it difficult to gain employment.  You will lose your boat licence for a considerable amount of time as well as incurring a heavy fine at the very least.  In the event of an accident, your insurance will be null and void if alcohol was involved. 

I love a beer as much as anyone else but as I mentioned, there is a time and place for everything and on the water is no longer a place for alcohol consumption.



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