One of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's most pernicious covert policy obsessions is the introduction of alcohol regulation for leisure boating. The Royal Yachting Association, clubs, organisations and leisure boaters have all condemned this effort to extend the icy grasp of the nanny state beyond the littoral. Last year the MCGA produced a set of spurious figures to back their campaign; they were comprehensively and effectively demolished by diligent scrutiny. The real figures for leisure boating fatalities caused by alcohol are insignificant - an average of 1.4 deaths a year. More people die from being 'struck by cheese or other dairy product'.
The MCGA's latest set of casualty figures include all deaths that can even remotely be linked to any body of water bigger than a puddle; scousers falling into canals, cockneys dropping off cliffs, yardies dumping 'hit' victims in the Thames, people falling out of helicopters. For 2006 the figures are:
|105 were suicides/suspected suicides|
|68 were crime-suspected|
|33 were due to natural causes|
|124 resulted from maritime accidents|
|30 resulted from accidents on land or are aircraft-related.|
|11 occurred outside the UK Search and Rescue Region|
Now. I'll bet it won't be long before the MCGA resumes its alcohol campaign on the basis of the 124 Maritime Accidents figure .... just let's not forget that 123 of those will have absolutely nothing to do with alcohol and leisure boating.