ON PATROL: Whitsunday Water Police pictured during an on-water drug testing trial last week.
ON PATROL: Whitsunday Water Police pictured during an on-water drug testing trial last week. Contributed

Water Police now testing for drugs

RANDOM Breath Tests can happen at any time on local roads and Whitsunday waters aren't any different.

The Whitsunday Water Police completed a trial of on-water drug testing last week and the results were positive for all the right reasons.

The three-day patrol, from March 6-8, focused on commercial vessel operators with the aim to create a safe environment on the water throughout the Whitsundays. 

Tests were conducted around the islands including Whitehaven Beach, Tongue Bay and Blue Pearl Bay.

Thirty drug and alcohol tests were conducted during this period but all people tested returned a negative reading.

Whitsunday Water Police officer in charge Graeme Pettigrew said the outcome of the trial was "a great news story" for the Whitsunday Marine Industry. 

"Commercial vessel skippers were tested, including their crew members who operate the small tender vessels, passenger ferry skippers and even a sea plane pilot was tested during the patrol," he said.

"Tourists can feel safe and are in good hands while enjoying the beautiful Whitsunday island tours."

Pilot Dane Bendall pictured with Water Police officer Sergeant Adam Howe.
Pilot Dane Bendall pictured with Water Police officer Sergeant Adam Howe. Contributed

The trial comes after Police Minister Mark Ryan announced a trial of on-water drug testing and enforcement to "provide Water Police with the equipment and training to undertake their own on-water drug testing".

Senior Constable Adam McLoughlin said drug and alcohol tests on the water would continue with a focus on both commercial and recreational vessels.

"Anyone can be tested whether commercial or recreational, it's basically like a random breath test," he said.

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