Liquor and Gaming NSW

$5500 Fine as party boat operation detects alcohol law breahes

Thursday, 12 July 2012   [PDF,48kb]

The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) has issued a warning to party boat operators after a Sydney Harbour cruise company was caught allegedly breaching alcohol laws following a NSW Government operation targeting party boats.

The operation on Saturday night (7 July) detected a number of alleged liquor licence breaches against a licensed vessel owned by All Occasions Cruises.

The joint operation involved OLGR, The Rocks and City Central Police Commands, NSW

Fire Brigade, and rangers from the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority.

The operation targeted a dance party cruise advertised on Facebook as the ‘biggest production ever on an Australian cruise’ that attracted 760 people paying about $60 per head.

Authorities engaged with the event promoter and vessel operator on Friday afternoon to strengthen controls and responsible service of alcohol (RSA) measures prior to the five hour dance cruise.

However, a monitoring operation on Saturday night at the start and end of the cruise detected a number of alleged breaches and anti-social behaviour.

“An inspection of the large multi-level vessel, ‘MV Bella Vista’, by OLGR officers found that four security guards were unable to produce their RSA certificates,” OLGR Director of Compliance Paul Newson said.

“The licensee of the vessel is required as a condition of the liquor licence to maintain an RSA register containing recognised RSA certificates of all staff involved in the sale and supply of alcohol as well as security guards.

“The licensee also failed to comply with a licence condition requiring a ratio of at least one security guard for every 100 patrons with only five licensed security guards on duty when there should have been at least seven.

“As a result, OLGR will be issuing five penalty notices which will result in a total of $5,500 in fines against the vessel’s licensee.

“While the majority of cruise operators do the right thing, this fine should be a warning to any operators who think breaches of alcohol management laws will go undetected.”

A further three security guards involved in crowd control for the vessel were also found to be unlicensed.

A police drug dog was also deployed at King Street Wharf at Darling Harbour before the cruise and detected prohibited drugs, believed by police as being amphetamines and ecstasy, on the foreshore nearby.

One intoxicated male patron was also arrested by police prior to boarding the vessel when he was refused access and failed to comply with a direction to move on, resulting in him being issued with a penalty notice.

Joint operations targeting party boats have been ongoing involving OLGR, Police, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Roads and Maritime Services, and Sydney City Council.

“Peak season for party boats is the warmer months from October through to April but many also continue to operate during the winter months,” Mr Newson said.

“Just like land-based pubs, clubs and restaurants, these licensed boats have to abide by alcohol laws including responsible service and monitoring of alcohol consumption.

“This is extremely important from a safety perspective given the heightened risk of people drinking on board vessels on Sydney Harbour.

“But there are also other issues to consider including personal and public safety in terms of alcohol intoxication and the risk of anti-social behaviour not only on board the vessels but also when they dock and passengers disembark.

“Partner agencies will continue to target high risk licensed venues and operators to ensure compliance particularly in the lead-up to the peak season warmer months.”