UK Dinghy Sailors and Canoeists Upset Against Proposed Changes to Shipping Laws

Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Embed
A fight is breaking out in the UK over a proposed change to the Merchant Shipping Act to will reclassify unpowered craft (which include canoes, kayaks, sailboards and surfboards) as ships. It will bring operators under the same regulations as merchant ships.

Users face prison and fines of up to £50,000 if they are held liable for any accidents. A family in a dinghy or a beginner oarsman could be prosecuted if they collided with a swimmer. Anyone out on the water would be liable to a random breath test. The change was initially prompted by pressure to reduce accidents involving reckless use of jet skis, which have caused nine deaths in the past ten years. But the Department for Transport has infuriated many of Britain’s four million water sports enthusiasts by proposing to extend the regulations to unpowered craft. All watercraft would be classed as “ships” and thus bound by safety regulations enshrined in the Merchant Shipping Act, 1995. Surfers and canoeists in particular are adamant that they should not be subjected to such legislation.

Many people feel that the change isn’t necessary.

Gus Lewis, legal officer at the Royal Yachting Association, the governing body for dinghies, yachts, rigid inflatable boats and sailboards, said everyone at sea should follow the same safety rules. But he said the association did not support new drink-driving rules for amateur sailors, since it is already an offence to behave in such a way as to endanger a ship or an individual.

More info: timesonline.co.uk

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

Instagram goodness

Instagram

Get the newsletter

 

Strategic partner

Paddle Canada Logo