Getting into a boat with a drunk captain was a "dumb"
thing to do, but it would be difficult and costly to impose
drunk driving laws for boaties, Prime Minister John Keys says.
His comments follow an incident in which a speedboat smashed
into a yacht before flying through the air into a wharf and
injuring four people, one of them seriously.
The collision happened at Herald Island in West Auckland
about 11.30pm on Saturday.
Police are investigating if alcohol was a factor in the
The speedboat, occupied by a young couple, appeared to be
weaving between moored yachts before the crash, according to
witnesses. The boat had tried to pass between two yachts
moored at the wharf and collided with both vessels.
The speedboat then crashed on to the floating dock then slid
over it and sank.
Maritime police said the harbourmaster would be salvaging the
Mr Key told TVNZ's Breakfast programme today it was a "nice
idea" to impose drinking limits for boaties, but in reality,
it would be difficult to implement.
"If you get in a boat with someone that's highly intoxicated,
or you're driving a boat and you're highly intoxicated, that
is a really dumb thing to do."
But it would be difficult to have the equivalent of a "booze
bus" on the high seas, he said.
The Recreational Boating Forum would be looking at the issue
and making recommendations to the government in April, he
Mr Key also said it would be costly to test boaties' blood
alcohol levels compared with the amount of alcohol-related
incidents that happen.
Fisherman Jayson Hoff, who saw Saturday night's crash said a
family, including two children, had been sleeping on the
yacht when the speedboat smashed into it.
"We heard a woman screaming and we broke through a gate to
try to help," he said. "The people on the yacht were already
getting the man and the injured woman out of the water.
"The woman on the speedboat had her legs pretty smashed, had
cuts and couldn't move. There also seemed to be something
wrong with her back."
He said te speedboat had no lights on and was travelling fast
just before the crash.
Police, ambulance and coastguard attended the scene and
police said they were investigating.