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RNZN Going Dry

Gino

Badgeman
Royal New Zealand Navy chief Rear Admiral Jack Steer has announced a slew of new alcohol rules for the service.

Ships, at sea and docked, will go dry and sailors won't be able to splurge on duty-free booze, or cigarettes, when overseas.

And during working hours, no sailor will be allowed to drink alcohol without express permission.

Steer announced the changes yesterday in an "all despatch" post to the approximately 1900-strong force.

"I no longer want to come into work on a Monday and find out that one of you has been arrested doing something stupid while drunk," Steer said.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/10601512/Navy-puts-brakes-on-booze

Does their CNS really think this is going to fix alcohol related problems? It's worked out so well for the USN, after all. I think all he wants to do is to be able to say, "I took drastic action, so nothing that happens can be considered my fault."

Is the RCN next?
 

SEP86

War Hero
.... I was waiting for someone to start a thread on this subject.

I think my Chief of Navy wants to bring the RNZN into line with modern professional approaches to drinking alcohol.

Not drinking at sea or at anchor, and not drinking in working hours when alongside or ashore (yes that includes the SRs' Mess and Wardroom).

The merchant marine is dry at sea, and most professional organisations don't let you drink in the firm's time.

I don't think RA Steer thinks he is going to 'fix' alcohol related problems, or change the attutudes of New Zealand society, but he is going to (has done) stop people drinking in their messdecks at sea and make sure they cannot be accused of being unprofessional on 'his' time. I see nothing wrong with that.

The ships will not be 'dry' in the same way as the USN because they will be able to consume alcohol onboard during port visits (not in working hours though).

Having served for 28 years (RN plus RNZN) and seen the some effects of drinking at sea, it is all pretty sensible and justifiable I would say.

PS - Since September, all oncoming Duty Watches, Special Sea Dutymen and others with key safety related duties are breath tested too.
 

Seadog

War Hero
Moderator
Merchant Marine dry at sea? Are you referring to NZ registered vessels? There are plenty of vessels of all flags where drinking is allowed, subject to being sensible about it. Cruise ships being a good example. One of their rules is : officers are not to congregate at the public bars, leave space for passengers.

Personally, once I grew up, I didn't drink at sea and made up for it in harbour unless I was duty the next day. Being alcohol free for months was great for mind and body.
 

danny

War Hero
From an RN point of view I can understand why they are doing it. I just feel it is another dent in the appeal of a life in the navy. One step closer to it being a job rather than a lifestyle.
But it is the times we live in the reason that X happened because AB Y is a stupid **** is not good enough anymore. Questions are asked why Admiral Z didn't do more to prevent X.
 

tiddlyoggy

War Hero
Book Reviewer
The writing has been on the wall for some time I feel. Amazed that we are still allowed to drink at sea. That said, one of my colleagues at my new job is a former engineer from oil tankers, I was gobsmacked when he told me that they had a 2 tins a day rule, but they saved it up for upperdeck bbqs
 

Gino

Badgeman
SEP86, VMT for the clarification. The news reports suggested that there would be no alcohol at all in HMNZ Ships. I can understand eliminating alcohol at sea, although is that really causing any problems? The current rule in the RCN is that there is only beer and wine at sea, and you cannot drink within six hours of going on watch, and you cannot be drunk. Any violations at sea are dealt with pretty severely. The major alcohol problems that we have stem from sailors drinking ashore and getting into various forms of trouble.

All this being said, the RCN is currently undergoing a major review of alcohol policies so who can tell what will happen?
 

RabC

MIA
SEP86, VMT for the clarification. The news reports suggested that there would be no alcohol at all in HMNZ Ships. I can understand eliminating alcohol at sea, although is that really causing any problems? The current rule in the RCN is that there is only beer and wine at sea, and you cannot drink within six hours of going on watch, and you cannot be drunk. Any violations at sea are dealt with pretty severely. The major alcohol problems that we have stem from sailors drinking ashore and getting into various forms of trouble.

All this being said, the RCN is currently undergoing a major review of alcohol policies so who can tell what will happen?
Just hope that if they do change things in the RCN that Moose Milk will be classed as a dietary supplement...........
 
Good to see that many of you think it is inevitable, maybe desirable, for the RN to go dry. Bearing in mind that this Site is often considered to be the pulse of the Andrew, it will make the job of the big badges in Fleet and Whaley that bit easier.
 

digger84

War Hero
I for one don't agree with being dry at sea. We are all grown ups, the JR's have rules in place with regards to drinking times and allowances. In the SR mess we have also have rules and Wardroom......well allegedly XO has eyes on the bar bills.

I think that treat us as adults and we shall act like them. If you [email protected]@k up than thats your problem and face the consequences. Those who break the rules should have a hard time at the table and have privileges removed.

Don't take the one thing that the Navy has done for hundreds of years. What will happen to Sundowners, Team building and bonding, Prizes at quizzes/sports events and even say good bye to flight deck BBQ's.

Strip these away and all that is left is a soulless corporate company, with objectives and no time for the people that matter.
 

SONAR-BENDER

War Hero
I agree with Digger - if it ain't broke don't bugger about with it. On boats the bar was always there for those who wanted it. But doing 6 on, 6 off is not conducive to having a party. A small glass of wine with the Sunday dinner went down nicely though! We have all seen Channel Nights where the odd tinnie appeared from secret stashes!

However, when alongside, things as we tragically know can be very different.

Rather than stopping 'wets' at sea, just implement the rules and regulations that already exist, vigorously. As for alongside, the entire UK seems to have gone alcohol crazy during the last few years! It seems nobody pops out for a quiet pint or goes to the isco. The stated aim by these folk is to get bladdered, shitfaced or whatever and many start at home before thy even go out. Just switch on any cop fly on the wall thing on any given night and it will be full of pissed up folk giving plod and each other grief. So why should that influence the RN's policy on alcohol at sea? I believe that breathalysers are now routinely used onboard - excellent - I would not object to that if I was still serving.

The Military in general and the RN in particular has the legislation already in place to REALLY dissuade the troops from getting pissed up ashore. Maybe they could use it to set more examples?
 

Guns

War Hero
Moderator
I stopped drinking at sea back in the early 90's when after a monster sessions at anchor I was the most sober OOW when we needed to lift the pick and move the ship due to high winds and dragging.

The problem is people say "treat us like adults" but my experience is that is not the case. Too much of my time on disciplinary matters are drink related. Too often there would be occasions where I reckon short of the duty watch there would be a slack handful of people on board that, should something happen, would be able to fully function.

The excuse of "but it is a few drinks" is banded around, yet the same people would never even consider drinking and driving.

The problem is that alcohol is seen as the norm, a right - yet it is known to be the cause of so many problems.

Personally I would ban it at sea and remove it as a mitigation at table. In fact I would make it an aggravating factor - you choose to drink, no one forces you.
 
For awareness, consumption of alcohol is never a mitigating factor, and nearly always an aggravating factor when it comes to the consideration of laying charges and recommending a punishment.
 

SEP86

War Hero
'We are all grown ups' you say Digger.

I am sure that you are, but having been that XO (in the UK RN not very long ago) keeping my eye on the bar bills, I can assure that many of our ship mates do not act like grown ups when alcohol is added.

Yes the JR Messes have rules. Please do not try to tell me that they only have their daily beer issue and never have more than their daily allowances. Next thing you will be trying to get me to believe that the SRs Messes don't adjust their books to make sure the allowances are stuck to.

As for enforcing the rules with a hard time at the table. If every infringement of alcohol regulations was enforced at the table, then the RNP and CO/XO would rarely being doing anything else. In my time I have certified sailors drunk as OOD (I find it amazing the number of OODs who never have), I have back in my small ships time closed the SR's Mess bar for a week as for continually presenting blatantly made up bar books, and I have had to deal with numerous other incidents after flight deck barbies in particular. It is not just JRs and SRs either. Non watchkeeping officers can be (and often are) just as bad.

I am afraid that, IMO, the situation regarding alcohol in the RN IS broken. Yes, a minority are spoiling it for the rest, but 'the rest' have not kept their shipmates in check.

I have not yet been to sea with the RNZN, but at least when I do I can now sleep in my bunk at night knowing that if the ship goes to Emergency Stations everyone will be sober.
 
The point that comes across to me from this is that going dry would make life simpler for the modern day manager. If we had more modern day leaders, though, it might be less of a problem.

There was always a proud principle of "work hard, play hard". An integral component of that was discipline, not least self discipline. So is this a casualty of discipline reluctance in a world dripping with human rights? Is dismissal from the Service for being a persistent pisshead now a fast track to an industrial tribunal? There seems to me more to this than the perpetual drip of the Calvinists and the anything-for-a-quiet-life from certain Officers and SRs (that is not aimed at any Posters here, before any dummies get spitted).
 

Dredd

War Hero
Super Moderator
So is this a casualty of discipline reluctance in a world dripping with human rights?

Yes and no.

Yes - a general lack of self-discipline is present nowadays, but usually just for those who are immature and mistakenly believe that the right to question means question everything. For those who wish to belong to something, they will generally work with the system that is there and if that means getting ahead through study, application and willpower then they will rise to challenge. This hasn't changed since Man settled down into organised clumps and had to work co-operatively to build a civilisation. Doesn't mean the system is right, though.

No - it has nothing to do with human rights. Properly laid down rules, understood and more importantly signed up to by all, can be correctly applied in a disciplinary matter. If the rules are fair and just, then good luck challenging them. But then again if everything were that simple, we wouldn't need lawyers, would we? ;)

I do get a little sick of the title human rights being used as a convenient excuse as a source of all our ills. It is no more true than health & safety which popular culture seems to have dropped in favour of this latest kick-ball. The principles are valid, and proper application is a boon for all concerned. Anyone who uses one or the other is usually just using it for laziness because they are either chancing their luck or haven't a clue what the real cause is and just want something to blame rather than think about it.

As a society in the UK, and more especially here in Jockland, we have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. It is a problem that extends beyond the mess or wardroom. However, if the RN was to go dry, would this be the shock-wave that makes others sit up and take notice of how unhealthy that relationship actually is? Or can the RN demonstrate that alcohol can be managed responsibly and that the few who transgress are properly held to account?

I too agree that using alcohol as a mitigating factor is the wrong way about - if anything, it should be used to enhance a penalty so it acts as a warning to others. Not being in command of your faculties at the time of the offence is not an excuse - you chose to get in that state and your decision-making is at fault so take the consequences.

Banning is the easy option. Sensible and appropriate management of the problem is far harder, but could ultimately be more rewarding. Why should a few always have to ruin it for the majority?
 
Where is this going to stop. Are the crabs going to ban squadron bars? Will there be regiment bars at the Army/Navy match?

The worlds gone mad. I understand the need to prevent jack turning too pissed but is it really that broken?

Who's going to do a two deck dash sober?

Just thinking about it, I don't know any fellow Naval squadron member who has dropped in the shit for being pissed/or incapable of working on watch? Along side yes.

However we had two idiot crabs on 1(F) Squadron who decided to go on a gizzit hunt, after finding a spare wardroom cabin for a snooze and waking up after the thimble hunt was not a good idea. Especially when their gizzits consisted of numerous items from the buffers store and some fire fighting equipment. Due to the reggies incompetence and trying to slope the crime off to Cottesmore coppers they eventually got away with it.

My pongo mate had to charge one of his chaps for being pissed on the Ocean.

So I suggest ban crabs and pongos as they can't be trusted!!


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