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The Norfolk Broads Forum / Broads Authority Issues / Suspended sentence for Suffolk man
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Posted By Discussion Topic: Suspended sentence for Suffolk man

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Paladine
Sep-03-2017 @ 9:30 AM                           Permalink
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It is equally impossible to make direct comparison between what appear to be similar cases. There will always be different considerations for the court to take into account.

A prosecution was conducted by the MCA, under S58(4) Merchant Shipping Act 1995, in a case which involved a fatality, rather than injury. A dredger collided with a leisure yacht, resulting in the death of the yacht owner’s wife. The Chief Mate was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. The MCA report can be read here.

A case rather more similar to the Oulton Broad case was the one involving Cardiff Bay Yacht Club. A collision took place between two RIBs operated by paid contractors of the club, at night, with no lights. Some young children in the RIBs, who were on a training course run by the club, were thrown into the water. A 10-year old girl suffered life-changing brain injury and another suffered three compressed discs in her spine. The club was fined £40,000 and its Chief Instructor was given 180 hours of community service. However, the prosecutions were not under S.100, but in relation to their failure in their duty of care for the children. The MCA report can be read here.

"..for the avoidance of any doubt, the broads are not legally a national park and do not come under the national park legislation, and nor will they."
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA (Hansard 2015)

Dreamer
Sep-03-2017 @ 9:37 AM                           Permalink
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Let's not forget that, as well as the suspended sentence, he was also hit with £15000+ costs and 120 hours community service. He will be of far more use to his family (who will no doubt need him) out of prison rather than in. Sometimes I do wonder what a Judge is thinking when they dish out what seems like a soft sentence but they do have all the facts which we don't.

Karen&Mike
Sep-03-2017 @ 7:25 PM                           Permalink
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Thanks for all that Mr P - I will read and digest with a cuppa very shortly...

I do appreciate that no two cases are the same,  and also that the court will have had far more detail than we do. I was just really interested in the very general comparison between reckless helming and reckless drving, so to speak. A boat at speed with an over the limit person at the helm ( yes I know we don't actually know who it was for sure in this case ) is as capable of serious damage and injury to third parties as a motor vehicle.

Karen



"Wind up the elastic band Karen - we're setting off!!"

daz3210
Sep-03-2017 @ 7:37 PM                           Permalink
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But boating on the Broads has no legal limit for alcohol.

One sometimes has to wonder why.

Wocka Wocka Wocka

Paladine
Sep-03-2017 @ 9:58 PM                           Permalink
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The law does actually exist in Section 80 of the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003, but it hasn’t yet been brought into force.

The RYA is opposed to its implementation. Click here for their views.

In 2011, following an incident on the Thames, the MAIB said, “There have been at least 45 fatalities resulting from accidents to pleasure vessels over the last six years in which alcohol has been a contributory factor.” So fewer than 8 per year, on average.

During the same period of time, on the roads of Great Britain, it is estimated that there were 2,780 people killed in drink drive accidents, with another 10,180 seriously injured.

That rather puts it into perspective.

And, if S.80 was implemented, how would it be enforced? The Broads Authority rangers may have the authority to detain a vessel if it is suspected that a person committing an offence under S.80 is on board, but have no power to detain that person or administer a breath test. That can only be administered by a police constable in uniform,.

"..for the avoidance of any doubt, the broads are not legally a national park and do not come under the national park legislation, and nor will they."
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA (Hansard 2015)


This message was edited by Paladine on Sep-3-17 @ 9:59 PM

daz3210
Sep-04-2017 @ 5:16 AM                           Permalink
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If I am not mistaken, if that law were to be brought in to force, would the limit not actually be less than for a motor vehicle then?

If the Broads Authority were that way inclined, could they bring in byelaws that either set limits, and/or permitted the rangers to carry out breath testing/enforcement?

Wocka Wocka Wocka

This message was edited by daz3210 on Sep-4-17 @ 1:14 PM

Marshman
Sep-04-2017 @ 8:40 AM                           Permalink
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Such a change, if necessary, would require a change in primary legislation, I believe, give more powers to the BA and probably up your licence fee by 50% and all to achieve?

Probably nothing as it would provide no deterrent and not stop the incidents.

Worth it?

Jeremy-Aslan
Sep-04-2017 @ 5:59 PM                           Permalink
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Like so many things, trying to implement the idea of 'Drink-Boating' legislation would not be as easy as a quick headline might make it appear.

Of course, I express my horror at the incident that is the main topic of this thread;  like most others, I have no additional knowledge apart from what I have read, so it is difficult to assess whether there are other factors which the judge may reasonably have taken into account.

I also condemn reckless boating (as appears to have been the case in this incident), whether or not alcohol is a factor.

So, apart from what the RYA says, why would it be difficult to enforce 'Drink-Boating' rules?  Firstly, determining who is controlling the boat  -  in a car, it's very hard to swap drivers if a blue light appears in the rear-view mirror, before they pull you over.  In many boats, swapping helm is very simple.  By the time an enforcement RIB were alongside, anyone could have taken control of the boat, and the inebriated former helmsperson be sitting well away from the controls.

Also, how many people are 'in control'?  For commercial vessels, the rules are, indeed, strict, and cover 'anyone involved in navigating the vessel' (or words similar to that).  If I am driving a car (sober) and ask my tipsy passenger to look at a map for me, that's legal.  If I am helming a boat and ask a similar question, that person is 'involved in navigating the vessel', and we would both be culpable.

The type of incident described on this thread is, thankfully, very rare.  From what has been written it sounds to me like extreme stupidity, in a vessel going much faster than most boats are capable of.  Planing?  In the dark?  In a crowded anchorage?  

While it is quite possible to do some damage, most vessels on the Broads will only cause a nasty crunch to another boat, even if rammed straight into the side at the maximum speed the engine (or sails) can manage.  I am not for one moment condoning the 'dodgems' attitude that some boaters may exhibit, but it is reasonably unusual for such collisions to be life-threatening.  Of course, there are exceptions, and there could be someone in a bunk immediately behind the hull, etc.

So, to try and implement 'Drink-Boating' legislation could seriously inconvenience many legal boaters, yet achieve very little.  As in this case, there are other aspects of legislation that can usually be applied to someone who is boating irresponsibly



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'We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty' (HHGG)

Steve51
Sep-06-2017 @ 9:58 AM                           Permalink
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An interesting bit from John Packman's monthly briefing on the subject.

"One striking thing about the collision was that the RIB battery was torn from its housing, freezing the tachometer at 4800rpm which allowed the speed at the time of the impact to be calculated.

The Judge found that the Defendant had been piloting his vessel under the influence of alcohol in the dark of night at 5 times the 6mph speed limit"

Steve. CM1 and NR12

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