Switzerland scraps blood alcohol limits for rubber boat captains

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Switzerland scraps blood alcohol limits for rubber boat captains
Boating on the Aare River is a popular summer activity in the Swiss capital of Bern. Photo:

In good news for weekend sailors, Switzerland is to get rid of blood-alcohol limits for users of vessels including small, non-motorized rubber boats and kiteboards.


The changes have been made because it is “too difficult” to test the blood alcohol limit of people operating these types of vessels and because these non-motorized craft pose only a minimal risk, the government said in a statement.

However, before you get completely intoxicated when taking your rubber boat onto the nearest Swiss river, the government also sounds a note of warning. Under the new rules, all operators of such small craft will still have to be fit to drive.

This fitness to drive could be assessed during random controls.

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The rule changes, which were first touted last year, apply to boats with motors up to 2.5 metres in length and to non-motorized rubber boats up to four metres in length. Also exempt from alcohol limits are windsurfers and kiteboarders, along with canoeists and kayakers.

The operators of all other pleasure craft will be liable to the same blood alcohol limit of 0.05 percent. This is also the limit on Swiss roads.

The changes come into force in 2020.

Read also: Switzerland introduces tougher safety rules for high-risk sports



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