EDITORIAL: Navy booze policy change smart idea

Longstanding tradition needs a modern update

The presence of cheap or free alcohol on Royal Canadian Navy ships is a tradition that goes back generations.

It can likely be traced back to when the captains of sailing ships heading out for long voyages to new lands felt it prudent to carry rum on board to give crew members something to look forward during long stretches at sea, and to keep them from going stir crazy.

While ships and personnel in today’s navy still spend extended times at sea away from home and family, the need for a loose liquor policy on board is a vestige from the past that has long outlived its pragmatic need.

There will no doubt be crew members who will grumble about the move announced by the RCN last week to ban self-serve drinking while its ships are at sea or in port. But it makes sense, since these ships are workplaces 24/7, with crew on duty at all times.

The change was one of a variety of recommendations stemming from an Internal Review of Personal Conduct, launched after shorebound charges relating to drunken misconduct were lodged against three members of HMCS Whitehorse on exercise in San Diego this past summer.

Among the review’s findings was that clearer guidance on the RCN’s expectations for personal conduct needs to be communicated to officers and sailors, a result it stated should come from better leadership training and communications efforts.

Leaving ship’s personnel to police themselves around alcohol consumption has worked well for years for the most part. But the RCN has acknowledged that the number of alcohol-fuelled negative incidents has been on the rise in recent years.

That said, the navy realizes that the vast majority of personnel behave respectfully when imbibing on board or in port. As such, one recommendation is to offer alcohol on ships for special occasions, but for a higher price than in past and never in a self-serve scenario.

The military is designed to be structured and discipline-oriented – that’s why many people join in the first place. Letting that structure  loosen over booze is simply not acceptable.

Just Posted

Saanich woman runs marathons to make dreams come true

Hempler gutted her way through 122 kms with minimal breaks, to support Help Fill a Dream Foundation

Tsartlip canoe team pulls for international glory in Australia

Geronimo Canoe Club paddles to Victoria to kick-start fundraising

Colwood resident cycles for 12.5 hours to raise money for hospice

Graham Hales will participate in the Cycle of Life tour in July

What’s bugging you? Exterminator talks pests in Victoria

Dealing with pests in the home this summer and beyond

The Nellie McClung Library is booked for June 22 and 23

Friends of the Library announce a big summer book sale the Nellie McClung branch

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

Homalco tour gives glimpse into area’s ‘People, Land, Water’

First Nation business mixes cultural components with wildlife excursions

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Convicted B.C. child abductor Randall Hopley back in custody 6 months after release

Correctional Services Canada could not provide further details due to privacy concerns

Most Read