Saturday night ski near Moama sees skipper blow .168

By Ivy Jensen

A 30-YEAR-OLD man towing a skier behind his boat, which had a four-year-old child on board, near Moama on Saturday night allegedly blew more than three times the blood alcohol limit.

NSW Maritime and NSW Police were carrying out a night patrol, where several boaters were enjoying the river following the day's Southern 80 action.

About 8pm, officers stopped a boat containing four men and a four-year-old child, which was towing a male skier.

Boating safety officers found the boat's driver appeared to be intoxicated and after he returned a positive breath test, the Victorian man was arrested by police.

He was taken to Moama police station, where he returned an alleged reading of 0.168.

The man was issued with a court attendance notice for high-range PCA and his boat licence was suspended.

NSW Maritime general manager Alex Barrell said the skipper had been a significant risk to those on board the vessel and to other river users.

“At the time many other craft were on the river, including other vessels towing skiers, people using personal water crafts and those aboard houseboats”, Mr Barrell said.

Murray River Police District Inspector Paul Huggett said the man was one of three boaters caught drunk driving during the three-day event.

“We deployed 30 police a day and carried out more than 200 RBTs on the water,” he said.

The three alleged drunk drivers will face Moama Local Court in May.

Ten drug tests were also carried out, all returning negative results.

Of the 157 boating safety checks carried out, seven boating infringements were issued.

Insp. Huggett said police and NSW Maritime would continue patrolling all waterways and interacting with river users over the summer months.

“We want to ensure that the river is safe for all users and any skipper or observer found to be intoxicated or in any way impaired will be charged,” Insp. Huggett said.

Mr Barrell said vessel operators were subject to heavy penalities if found to be over the limit, including observers in a vessel that is towing people as well as anyone being towed.

“The limit on the water is 0.05, the same as on the road, or zero alcohol for those under 18,” he said.