Alcohol and drugs

Alcohol affects your sensory abilities and decreases your reaction time.

As with driving a car, boating skills may be affected by alcohol and drugs. Loss of judgement and coordination and increase in reaction time can lead to the inability to react appropriately to a dangerous boating situation.

Alcohol also increases body-heat loss, reducing your survival time if you fall overboard. It also increases the pulse rate, leading to rapid exhaustion in survival situations.

How do alcohol and drugs affect you?

  1. Depth perception – being able to see other boats and to judge speed and direction
  2. Peripheral, colour and night vision
  3. Balance and coordination
  4. Comprehension and concentration
  5. Increased fatigue.

What is meant by "prescribed concentration"

The prescribed concentration of alcohol means: 

  • In the case of a person who is under the age of 21 years and who is in charge of a regulated recreational vessel or regulated hire and drive vessel under way (which for this purpose includes at anchor), any concentration of alcohol present in the blood or breath of that person
  • In the case of any other person
    1. a concentration of alcohol present in the blood of that person of 0.05 grams per 100 millilitres of blood; or
    2. a concentration of alcohol present in the breath of that person of 0.05 grams per 210 litres of exhaled air.

Please refer to the Marine (Drug, Alcohol and Pollution Control) Act 1988 (Vic) for details on alcohol and drug related offences, including an accompanying officer offence.

What is meant by "prescribed medications"

Prescribed medications and other drugs can also pose problems. Many preparations for seasickness, hay fever and other allergies can make you feel drowsy or easily confused. Before you go boating, check with your doctor or chemist on the possible side effects of any drugs you take.

Penalties for non-compliance

'Drink driving' laws are strictly enforced with the objective of safety for all. Victoria Police officers are empowered to use breathalysers to help detect operators exceeding alcohol limits. Heavy penalties apply to offenders.

Photo of an empty beer bottle on the beach