Boozing may put you in the drink

ALCOHOL and driving houseboats do not mix.

That is the message being pushed by a NSW Maritime Authority campaign to discourage drink-driving on the State's waterways.

The boating regulator was compelled to encourage hire company operators to brief their customers on the potentially dangerous combination after a man drowned while holidaying on the Tweed River on New Year's Day.

His was the third houseboat-

related fatality since September, 2002.

"My advice to people who hire houseboats is to ensure that there is a designated driver even while the vessel is anchored," said NSW Maritime chief executive Chris Oxenbould.

Clarence Boats Pty Ltd owner Graeme Campbell appreciates the obvious danger of mixing houseboat driving and excessive drinking.

Shortly after opening his business in 1986, a young man drowned after being pulled into the water from one of his boats while 'skylarking' with mates on the Clarence River.

But he said he had never felt the need to warn people of the illegality of drink-driving homes.

He said his customers were generally responsible on the water and used their common sense while out on the water.

Houseboat hire operators will now be given fliers by the NSW Maritime Authority to pass on.

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