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Mariner's Consumption of Alcohol and Drugs

Description: Department of Transport - An Roinn IompairThe purpose of this Marine Notice is to remind the public of the risks associated with the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs when operating or being on board a recreational craft or any vessel in Irish waters. 


Arising from the 2010 Annual Report of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) and the concern expressed by the MCIB regarding the number of incidents involving alcohol, Marine Notice No. 56 of 2012 was issued to remind those involved in water based activities of the laws that prohibit the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs while operating or on board recreational craft or any vessel in Irish waters.


It is evident from successive Annual Reports of the MCIB in recent years that alcohol consumption continues to be a significant factor in marine incidents involving recreational craft. A number of incidents have occurred where diminished human performance due to the effects of alcohol and/or drug consumption have been primary causes or contributing factors, leading to the loss of life in some cases. 


The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport wishes to remind all recreational craft users that it is the responsibility of each individual taking to the water to be mindful of their own safety:


  • YOU must take personal responsibility for your actions on the water; 
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs before or during a voyage; 
  • Failure to operate safely and comply with the law in relation to alcohol and drug consumption puts your life at risk and the lives of others on board the craft;

  • Alcohol speeds up the rate of body cooling and thus increases the risk of hypothermia in the event that you fall into the water. 

As detailed in Marine Notice No. 56 of 2012, the law requires that:

        The master or owner of a pleasure craft must not operate or control the craft, or allow another person to do so, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to such  an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the craft;

        Any person on board a pleasure craft must not consume alcohol or drugs in circumstances that could affect the safety of  persons on board or others using Irish waters, or create a disturbance on board or be a nuisance to others using Irish waters;

        Any person being towed or on board a vessel or object of any kind that is being towed by a pleasure craft must not consume alcohol or drugs

Failure to comply with the law can result in a fixed payment of €150 and/or prosecution proceedings which, on summary conviction, can lead to a fine not exceeding €5,000.

In circumstances where, through any deliberate or reckless action or by reason of being under the influence of alcohol or a drug, or any combination of drugs, or drugs and alcohol, a person puts at risk or endangers the safety, security or seaworthiness of a vessel or the lives or safety of persons on board, the person commits an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment, to a fine of up to €100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years, or both.

Irish Maritime Administration

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Leeson Lane, Dublin 2, D02 TR60, Ireland.


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