Simmonds’ bill to fight alcohol consumption and boating

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Invercargill MP Penny Simmonds is drafting legislation to promote legislation that prohibits people from operating pleasure craft while intoxicated.

His announcement today comes after the publication yesterday of a coroner’s report into the death of Southland man Shane David Gibbon.

Mr Gibbons was a passenger on a boat driven by Paul Turner when it struck a gravel bank on the Hollyford River in March 2019.

Mr. Turner had a blood sample taken the morning after the accident which contained 74 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.

ESR estimated that his blood alcohol level at the time of the accident would have been between 130 mg and 195 mg per 100 ml of blood.

The legal limit for driving on the road is 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.

At the time of the accident, Mr. Turner said he did not feel drunk.

In her findings, Coroner Sue Johnson recommended that the Department of Transportation investigate the introduction of legislation or rules regarding boaters who consume alcohol or drugs.

The ministry responded to the recommendation, saying the law already allows for the conviction of someone who operated a vessel in a dangerous manner.

Coroner Johnson said current legislation does not give an alcohol limit as a guide so people know when they are illegally operating a pleasure craft.

I agree with the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) that the lack of legislation or rules specifically prohibiting people operating pleasure craft from being impaired by alcohol or drugs is a safety concern.

“And I agree with TAIC that Mr. Gibbons’ death highlights the continuing risk of failing to implement safety measures to follow through on his recommendation.”

Ms Simmonds said she supported the call for the introduction of legislation.

“I am currently drafting a private member’s bill on this matter and I support a similar appeal from the Coroner, following a nautical tragedy on the Hollyford River in March 2019.

“Too many lives have been lost and too many families are in despair as a result of boating accidents.”

Ms Simmonds said she listened to the pleadings of another Southland boating widow, who reiterated her concerns about the alcohol and boating culture.

“As pleasure craft get faster and more powerful and boating gains in popularity, I think the time has come to take a closer look at the regulations and safety rules regarding water sports and sailing. alcohol.

“None of us would imagine drinking and then getting behind the wheel of a car and yet it is common for those on boats to consume alcohol and then head for the lake or the river.

“I think it is time for the Department of Transportation to revise this issue, with my MP’s bill encouraging changes to the law regarding people impaired by alcohol while operating pleasure craft.”

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