Thursday 9 November 2017
Minister launches New Code of Practice for the Safe Operation of Recreational Craft
Encourages all craft users to think and act safely on the water
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD, has today launched a new Code of Practice for the Safe Operation of Recreational Craft.
The Code of Practice is a valuable source of information, advice and best practice operational guidance for owners, masters, operators and users of a range of pleasure and recreational craft operating in Irish coastal and inland waters. The new Code of Practice was developed following a review of a 2008 edition within the Irish Maritime Administration and two consultations with key stakeholders.
The Code of Practice is divided into two Parts followed by a series of Appendices.
Part A (Chapter 1) outlines the legislative requirements that apply to all recreational craft or specific types or size of craft. Owners and operators must comply with the requirements appropriate to their craft.
Part B (Chapters 2 to 11) contains recommended guidelines and best practice for the safe operation of a range of recreational craft including sail and motor boats, sailing dinghies, jet skis and high speed power boats, stand-up paddle boards, canoes, kayaks, rowing boats and charter boats. Chapters 10 and 11 provide information on safety operations and emergency procedures, while a series of 11 Appendices cover such topics as radiocommunications, collision prevention, weather and sea states, lifejacket use, passage planning, buoyage and anchoring.
Similar to the Maritime Safety Strategy 2015-2019, which was published in 2015, the message that underlines the Code of Practice is the importance of personal responsibility for all those who take to the water.
Minister Ross encourages all recreational craft users to familiarise themselves with the Code of Practice and to heed the safety advice and recommendations in the Code.
“By making time for maritime safety and taking simple measures such as wearing a lifejacket, each person can contribute to saving lives, starting with their own.”
The Code of Practice for the Safe Operation of Recreational Craft is available free to the public and copies of English and Irish versions are available on request from the Maritime Safety Policy Division of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport at email firstname.lastname@example.org
Downloadable versions of the Code are also available on the Department’s website http://www.dttas.ie/maritime/english/code-practice-safe-operation-recreational-craft,
and on the safety on the water website http://www.safetyonthewater.ie/booklets/Recreational-Craft-Code
Background Notes for Editors
The Code of Practice for the Safe Operation of Recreational Craft was first published in 2006 following a review of safety measures on small watercraft and a public consultation process. A revised edition was published in 2008. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board has recommended the use of the Code as an information source.
Under Action 16 of the Maritime Safety Strategy 2015-2019 – Make time for maritime safety, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport committed to updating the Code of Practice to take into account changes in the legislative requirements that apply to recreational craft. The revised Code of Practice represents the culmination of an extensive stakeholder consultation process undertaken in 2016 and 2017.
As well as revising and updating the existing content of the Code and providing information on applicable legislation in a simple and user friendly manner, the new version also includes material on such issues as the safe use of slipways, LPG installations, passage planning and craft such as stand-up paddle boards.
Main message and focus of Code of Practice: Be informed, be prepared – the life you save could be your own
Consistent with the focus of the Maritime Safety Strategy 2015-2019, the message that underlines the Code of Practice is the importance of personal responsibility for all those who take to the water. Each individual must take responsibility for their actions and take maritime safety seriously by taking simple measures such as wearing a lifejacket. This means preparation and planning for a safe trip, behaving responsibly and being mindful of the safety of both themselves and others on the water, and being equipped so as to be able to respond to any incidents that may arise.
Page 5 of the Code provides a Checklist of Basic Requirements and Advice that should be followed by all persons who own, use or operate a recreational craft of any category. In summary, the following advice is key:
· Wear or carry a personal flotation device/lifejacket
· Check current weather forecasts and sea conditions prior to departure and plan your voyage accordingly
· Carry out safety checks before you go on the water and brief all persons on board on emergency procedures and the location/use of safety/emergency equipment on board, e.g. flares, radio equipment
· Ensure a designated person ashore knows your departure and return times and where you are going
· Have a dependable means of communication, ideally VHF radio equipment. Relying on a mobile phone is not recommended, but if used must be fully charged at all times with regular checks being made on signal strength and charge indicator
· Do not take alcohol or drugs when operating a craft
· In a marine emergency, raise the alarm on VHF Channel 16 or call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.
Marine casualties involving recreational craft
A significant number of Irish Coast Guard call-outs in recent years have been to assist recreational craft. Reports of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board have also indicated that many accidents and deaths in this sector could have been avoided. The key is to think and act safely.
The following extracts from the 2015 Annual Report of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board provide information regarding marine casualties involving recreational craft in the period 2006-2015. The table and chart below give a breakdown of the fatalities by type of craft during the 10 year period up to and including 2015. Fatalities associated with open boats and canoes have occurred on a regular basis during this period.