Alcohol and Boats
- Vessel operators who drink alcohol to excess when out on the water are a danger to themselves and others.
- Alcohol limits apply to vessel operators too.
- The law allows Tasmania Police officers to breath test vessel operators for alcohol.
Over the limit?
If you are caught, you will be fined and may lose your vessel licence.
Limit the Risk! Keep under the limit!
Tasmania Police can conduct alcohol breath tests on vessel operators randomly, or when a vessel operator is believed to have been drinking, or when a marine accident has occurred. A vessel operator includes anyone steering or exercising control over the course or direction, or means of propulsion of a vessel.
Alcohol limits apply when vessels are operational, but not if the vessel is secured, riding at anchor (other than a sea anchor) or safely berthed. The legislation allows for ‘emergency situations’.
The permitted breath alcohol limits are:
- Commercial Vessel Operators – 0.00
- Recreational Vessel Operators – under 0.05
- Fishing Vessel Operators – 0.05
If a breath alcohol test exceeds the limit, the police officer will follow the same procedures as applied to road users. Proof of identity and breath samples will be required to verify results. If a marine accident has occurred, and it is unclear who the operator of the vessel is, all people on the vessel may be tested. This will enable appropriate charges to be laid if an offence is disclosed following the identification of the operator. The master or vessel owner will also be liable to penalties if they knowingly allow a person who is in excess of a prescribed limit (commercial, recreational or fishing) to operate the vessel.
Penalties imposed by courts may include fines of up to $1,000 and vessel licences disqualification periods up to 15 months.