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Alcohol and drug rules

Drinking alcohol and being under the influence of drugs reduces your ability to boat safely.

Alcohol and drugs affect your judgement, vision, coordination and reflexes—increasing your risk of having a marine incident.

Sun, heat, wind, waves and constant motion can increase these effects of alcohol and drugs. Reflexes and response times in emergencies are slowed and swimming ability reduces a lot.

The master of a class 1 commercial vessel must have a blood alcohol limit of 0.

The master of all other classes of domestic commercial vessels (class 2, 3 and 4) must have a blood alcohol limit of less than 0.05.

It is recommended that all domestic commercial vessel skippers have a blood alcohol limit of 0 for general safety.

The skipper of all other boats must have a blood alcohol limit of less than 0.05. The skipper is also responsible for the safety of passengers and their alcohol consumption.

For skippers of recreational boats, the limit is 0.05 even when your boat is at anchor, unless the boat is securely moored in a marina, to a jetty or wharf or on a swing mooring.

Read more about alcohol limits in Queensland and the effects of alcohol on driving.

Drug rules

Police can also ask you to provide a saliva sample to detect the presence of:

  • Methylamphetamine—also known as speed and ice
  • MDMA—the active ingredient in ecstasy
  • THC—the active ingredient in cannabis.

There is zero tolerance for driving or boating under the influence of drugs. Read more information on drugs and driving, including penalties, the testing process and effects of drugs.

Suspension of a marine licence

If you have  a recreational marine licence and are convicted of any drink or drug driving offence involving operating a recreational vessel under section 79 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (PDF, 1.2MB), your marine licence can be cancelled or suspended. 

Get more information about disqualification from holding a marine licence.

If you hold a commercial marine qualification and are convicted of a drink or drug driving offence, this information will be provided to  the National Regulator, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), who may consider whether the person is a fit and proper person to continue to hold that marine qualification.

Last updated
31 August 2016