FAQ on sailing under the influence of alcohol


​​​​​​​​​​​Question:

Where can I find the regulations on sailing under the influence of alcohol?

Answer:

The regulations are stipulated in sections 29 a-e of the act on safety at sea.


Question:

Am I covered by a fixed blood alcohol content limit when sailing my boat?

Answer:

There is a fixed blood alcohol content limit of 0.50 that applies to the vessels for which educational requirements are made of the master or of the mate, if relevant, as well as to water scooters and similar vessels. Thus, the blood alcohol content limit covers
  • recreational craft with a length of or above 15 metres (almost 50 feet), 
  • power boats for which a power boat licence is required, i.e. planing power boats, as well as
  • water scooters and the like. 
The regulations apply to anyone navigating a ship or performing work on board in a position of considerable safety importance.
 
In the recreational area, the regulations typically apply to the master and/or the helmsman and the navigator. But also others, for example a lookout, can be covered if they are to carry out work in a position of considerable importance to safety.
 
As regards commercial voyages, it means that the entire operational crew (the master, navigating officer, engineer officer and ship's assistants) is normally covered.
 
On board passenger ships, surveyors, pursers and servants who have been appointed to perform tasks of considerable importance to safety are also covered.
 
The regulations on the blood alcohol content limit also applies to persons who are not watchkeeping, but who must be able to step in to solve safety-related tasks, if necessary. 

 

Question:​

If I am not covered by a fixed blood alcohol content limit, then what applies?

Answer:

You must not be in service in a condition where you are so much under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants that you are unable to perform your tasks of considerable importance to safety in a fully safe manner. In this connection, your blood alcohol content will be included with considerable weight, but in all circumstances it will depend on a specific assessment whether you have been able to carry out your tasks in a fully safe manner.

Question:

What are the regulations on canoes, kayaks, rowing boats and the like?

Answer:

The general prohibition against navigating if you are so much under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants that you are incapable of navigating the vessel in a fully safe manner also applies to canoes, kayaks, rowing boats and similar vessels driven forward by "muscle power".


Question:

My friend and I were out sailing. I was in charge of the navigation, but while underway I let my friend steer the boat. Can both my friend and I be charged for sailing under the influence of alcohol?

Answer:

Yes. As the master, you have the main responsibility for the navigation, and you must be able to perform your task in a fully safe manner, possibly also with a blood alcohol content below 0.50. If you leave the wheel to somebody else, you can also be charged for sailing a boat under the influence of alcohol though you have not taken physically part in the navigation of the ship because you are the person main responsible for the navigation.

The regulations apply to anyone sailing a ship or performing work on board in a position of considerable importance to safety.

 
In the recreational area, the regulations typically apply to the master and/or the helmsman and the navigator. But also others, for example a lookout, can be covered if they carry out work in a position of considerable importance to safety.
 

Question:

Which regulations apply when a ship is in a port or in a safe anchorage?

 

Answer:​

In the recreational area, the fixed blood alcohol content limit does not apply when the vessel is moored in port or in a safe anchorage. But the general provision on alcohol still applies when you are in a safe anchorage.

 
This means that you must not drink so much alcohol that you are incapable of performing your safety tasks in a fully safe manner. You must, for example, be capable of securing the mooring lines or the anchor, and the carrying of lights may be required.

 
In the commercial field, the regulations on alcohol apply in full, also when the ship is in port or in a safe anchorage.
 
But persons who do not have tasks of considerable importance to safety while the ship is in port are not covered by the regulations on alcohol while the ship is in port.​


 

Question:

Do the regulations on alcohol also apply to foreign ships in Danish waters?

Answer:​

In inner Danish waters (such as ports and fjords), the Danish authorities are fully authorised to enforce the provisions vis-à-vis foreign ships.
 
In outer Danish waters, random checks of foreign ships in harmful passage through Danish waters cannot be made according to international law. This means that the Danish authorities cannot interrupt a foreign ship's passage through the Great Belt and the Sound in order to take alcohol tests if the ship "acts normally". But the ship can be stopped if the navigation gives rise to specific danger - for example if the ship is following an unsteady course, goes aground or the like.


Question:

How large is the fine for sailing under the influence of alcohol?

Answer:

You will get a fine corresponding to one month's net income multiplied by the size of the blood alcohol content if you have a blood alcohol content below 2.00. The minimum fine is DKK 1,500. For spouses without their own income, the fine is at least DKK 3,000.


Question:

Do I risk having my certificates withdrawn if I am convicted?

Answer:

Yes. You can have your right to sail a ship or to serve as a mate or engineer officer suspended. In case of suspension, a general prohibition against navigating a ship or serving as a mate or engineer officer is notified in connection with the judgement. The suspension can be either conditional or unconditional - it depends on your blood alcohol content and on whether you have previously had the right to navigate a ship, etc. suspended by judgement.


Question:

Can I have my certificate temporarily withdrawn?

Answer:

Yes. The police can decide to withdraw your certificates, for example your power boat license, as well as the right to navigate a ship or serve as a mate or engineer officer. This may happen if the police estimate that the conditions for unconditional suspension are met.​​

 Kontakt

 
Maritim regulering og jura, TASK0118431 - konto enabled jf. godkendelse på sagen
72 19 60 00