Drink Driving a Boat

One of the best things about living in Queensland is our long stretches of beach and the adventures they allow. Every day, people take their boats out for all sorts of reasons – fishing, skiing or just exploring the coastline.

Boating is often a social outing for Queenslanders. This means that when out on their boats or stopped at a beach, many people will enjoy a few cold beers or a glass of wine, particularly on hot Summer days.

However if you enjoy boating, it is important that you know the alcohol laws that apply so that you don’t find yourself in trouble.

Drink Driving Laws in Queensland

It is common knowledge that it is illegal to drive a car over the legal alcohol limit in Queensland. For most people, the legal limit is 0.05% however many drivers are required to have a zero-alcohol limit when driving.

If you are caught drink driving, your car driver’s licence will be disqualified and you will not be allowed to drive while disqualified (unless you are granted a work licence). This disqualification affects any vehicle you can drive or ride on land which is propelled by an engine or motor. This means, for example, you will not be prevented from riding an ordinary bicycle.

Impact of a Car DUI on a Boat Licence

To be allowed to drive a boat in Queensland, you first need to obtain a marine licence. This licence is issued under maritime laws which are different to road transport laws. As a result, different laws apply.

If your road driver’s licence is disqualified due to a DUI offence, your maritime licence is not affected (as a general rule – some exceptions may apply). In other words, you can continue driving boats even if your road licence is disqualified.

Drink Driving a Boat

Even though your marine licence won’t be impacted by a road licence disqualification, it does not mean that you are free to drink drive a marine vessel. This is because the law which prevents drink driving on roads is the same for drink driving on water.

The law specifically states that it’s an offence to drink drive on a road or elsewhere. It does not restrict the law to roads or on land. This is because public safety is just as important on water as it is on land.

As a result, the law clearly prevents people from drink driving while operating marine vehicles. This includes not just boats but jet skis and so on.

You should also be aware that the same alcohol limits apply when on the water. As discussed above, this means that most people operating a recreational marine vehicle must not have an alcohol reading above 0.05%. For commercial vehicles, the alcohol reading must be zero.

If you are breath tested by the police and found to be driving a marine vessel over the legal limit, you will be required to attend court and your marine licence will be disqualified.

Charged With Drink Driving a Boat?

If you have been charged with drink driving a boat or other marine vessel, contact us to discuss your options. We will provide a comprehensive case review so that we can outline your rights and options.