Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit

TO the question posed by the old sea shanty `What shall we do with the drunken sailor?' will soon come the response: stick him in a cell and put the breathalyser on him. The government is planning a safety-at-sea Bill, which will subject sailors to the same rules as motorists - if they are caught with more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, they are liable to be arrested and charged.

Given the havoc that collision at sea can wreak, the measure is not wholly unreasonable - many shipping lines have in fact been imposing a strict policy of no drinking for their crews for many years. But eyebrows may be raised over the extent of the new law. It will apply not only to ships and barges but also to `all types of waterborne vessels including recreational craft, including those operated on inland waters'. In other words, have a drink or two and then start larking around on a rubber dinghy off Bognor Regis beach, and you will be in trouble. …

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