The Metropolitan Police's Marine Policing Unit is joining a pre-Christmas anti-drink and drug/driving campaign.

Police throughout the country are involved in the campaign, and the marine unit in partnerhsip with the Port of London Authority will be by raising awareness among River Thames commercial passenger and freight vessel operators.

The campaign, which gets under way next week (Dec 1st) aims to highlight the importance of the safety of vessels, including leisure craft , their passengers and crew.

Scotland Yard said: "Should anyone have concerns that a member of staff is working on a commercial vessel whilst unfit through drink or drugs [they] are urged to contact the police immediately.

"This can be done as confidential and anonymous information via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or via secure online form through In urgent cases always call 999. Alternatively the Port of London Authority can be contacted at London VTS on 0208 855 0315 for the upper district and 01474 562 215 for the lower district."

Police are able to act using the Rail and Transport Safety Act under which a master or member of the crew of a commercial vessel can be required to take a breath test under certain circumstances.This may include a field impairment test if drugs are suspected.

Crew members are subject to arrest if they are over the limit for alcohol, refuse a breath test or found to be unfit through consumption of drink or drugs. The penalties involved are similar to those for road offences – fines or imprisonment. Additionally, upon conviction, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency may revoke a Boatmaster’s Licence.

Under PLA byelaws the master of a vessel (including recreational vessels) must not navigate when unfit through drink or drugs - for example having 35 micrograms or more of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

Additionally, if the harbourmaster has reasonable cause to suspect that a master’s fitness to navigate is impaired by having drink or drugs in his body, he may issue a direction to the Master, which if not complied with is also an offence.

Story dated Nov 22nd 2016