MPs debate watercraft bills
Minister of Transport and Local Government Renward Wells said yesterday that the introduction of the Commercial Recreational Watercraft (Amendment) Bill and the Water Skiing and Motor Boat Control (Amendment) Bill are critical to remediating the legislative deficit in the watercraft sector.
“Together, these instruments will modernize domestic maritime legislation; introduce safety provisions regarding the use of crafts on the sea; enhance the registration of crafts by making the process more efficient and effective and introduce new offenses to criminalize certain undesirable activities in the sector,” Wells said in the House of Assembly.
The Commercial Recreational Watercraft Act of 2006 provides rules, defines offenses, and prescribes penalties relative to the operation of water crafts.
However, Wells said since its enactment it has proven “insufficient to provide for policing industry innovations, which includes new maritime crafts such as submersible craft, wing-in-ground (WIG) craft, as well as novelty craft”.
As such, the amendments to the bill would introduce definitions to embrace the new maritime crafts. Additionally the amendments make provisions for the registration of crafts and licensing of all operators. It also seeks to empower the minister to set the maximum number of crafts to be registered.
A part of the new amendment to the act states that, “Any person who is the owner of a craft and desirous of registering that craft may apply to the authority and the applicant shall submit; in writing, plans, specifications and inventories of the craft and produce for inspection the machinery, gear, fixtures and equipment used in connection with the craft; [and] a certified copy of a valid insurance certificate.”
The Commercial Recreational Watercraft (Amendment) Bill address the business and commercial side of the maritime industry and the Water Skiing and Motor Boat Control (Amendment) Bill would beef up enforcement to ensure proper regulation of the maritime industry, Wells said.
The motor boat control bill seeks to make provisions for the appointment of safety inspectors, their functions and powers, in addition to the powers of authorized officers.
It also seeks to increase the fine for any person who uses an unregistered boat from $75 to $2,000.
The bills were not passed but left in committee stage.
The House next meets on May 15.