Lee Duffield

Edited by Lee Duffield
Freedom and Truth

Party boats plus alcohol: ‘risky mix’

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The search continues for missing Irishman who fell overboard the Lady Brisbane party boat on Saturday night: Elke Byrne.

The safety of alcohol on boats is being questioned after two passengers fell overboard from the Lady Brisbane party boat on Saturday night.

The woman was pulled from the water but hopes are fading for the Irishman who is feared drowned.

DrinkWise Australia spokesperson Devon Blashki  says one-third of drownings are alcohol related.

“Party boats are considered high-risk establishments and are required to comply with increased responsible service of alcohol,” he says.

Maritime Safety Queensland says the effects of alcohol are enhanced while on the water due to wind, waves and constant motion.

Mr Blashki says DrinkWise has “no knowledge of such correlation”.

But The Island party boat worker Joanna Cooney says extra caution is taken on board.

“We are probably more strict on bad behaviour than normal party venues because we’re on the water,” she says.

Ms Cooney says a similar accident occurred on The Island a few years ago.

“There is an increased risk on boats for sure, but I think that it’s still a freak accident [when someone falls overboard],” she says.

“Obviously it is the responsibility of the people who run the boat to make sure proper barriers are up, and also that the staff know what to do if somebody does fall over.”

 Brisbane resident Alison Keane says a lack of barriers was a concern when she had her 18th birthday party on a cruise boat.

“There were probably not enough railings at the top of the boat… there was just a thin rail so when it got a bit rough it was pretty risky,” she says.

But Ms Keane says safety is a priority for the operators.

“At the start of the party you had to run through the safety – where the life jackets were and what to do in an emergency,” she says.

“They also said they would stop serving people if they got really drunk.”