Victorian govt introduces new on-water laws for drugs and alcohol

Jet skiers will come under the strict new laws
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Boaters, jet skiers and ship’s captains will face random drug tests under new Victorian laws to be introduced by the Baillieu Government this week.

A tough new marine safety regime will see the testing now conducted by police on Victorian roads extended to the state’s waterways.

Ports Minister, Denis Napthine said reform was needed to 'toughen up' the state's marine safety laws.

'The police won't hesitate to test people who are being inappropriate, showing hoonish behaviour or acting in a dangerous manner on our waterways,' he said.

'Serial or repeat offenders will have the book thrown at them and we'll take them off the water.'

Recreational and commercial boat operators using the rivers, lakes, bays and ocean will be swab-tested by police for illicit drugs such as ecstasy, ice, speed and cannabis.

Drunk ferry, ship, party and tour boat skippers will also be targeted, with new legislation reducing the legal blood-alcohol limit for commercial operators from 0.05 to 0.00, in line with train, truck, bus and taxi drivers.

Fines of up to $3520, or up to three months' jail, will apply for boat users convicted of a first drug and alcohol offence.
Subsequent drug and alcohol offences will attract fines of up to $25,344 or up to 18 months' jail.

The new marine drug and alcohol laws will apply to passenger vessels, trading vessels and commercial fishing craft.