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Home NATIONALNumber of drunken boat drivers slides
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Sun, 19 Jun, 2016 12:07:46 AM
FTimes – STT Report, Jun 19
Police Patrol Boat in Helsinki. Photo – Lehtikuva.
The number of drunken people behind the steering wheels of boats has declined significantly over the last 10 years, according to statistics. 
However, there have been annual variations in the number, said police.
Police Inspector Timo Ajaste of the National Police Board said it is difficult to assess whether boaters’ “conditions” have really improved.
He believes the statistics are affected by, among other things, summer weather and the price of fuel. 
During a sunny and warm summer, the water is more enjoyable than in cooler summers. The increases in fuel prices also discourage getting a boat into the water.
In addition, the consumption of alcohol in general has been on the decline, he pointed out.
Sergeant Jarmo Niininen of the Helsinki Boat Police said the fuel price has calmed the waters. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the waterways were wilder.
The summer boating season is, according to Ajaste, an otherwise busy time for the police. 
The police departments supervise, among other things, public events, which makes for fewer police units available to monitor the waterways.
In recent years, there has been a slight decline in the number of marine accidents involving alcohol use, Ajaste said.
For example, the year before last saw 353 convictions for intoxication while on the water, according to Statistics Finland. In 2009, there were 469. In 2005, there were 447, and in 2006, 469.
The figures included both the first judgments of the district courts and appeals.
The alcohol limit on the waterways is 1 milligram. For professional navigation on the water, the limit is 0.5 milligram.
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