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New shipping regulations to govern watersports


New shipping regulations to govern watersports


Barbados will soon have a new law to better regulate its domestic shipping affairs, including the watersports sector.

Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, on Wednesday said that the proposed Domestic Shipping regulations had been approved by Cabinet and the legislation was being drafted for presentation to Parliament.

Humphrey, explained that this legislation, along with the proposed Merchant Shipping regulations would, once passed and enacted by Parliament, replace the existing Shipping Act. He explained there needed to be a clear separation between the two.

“In our current [Shipping] Act, there’s some confusion between the requirements for international ships and domestic ships; and it could make it very onerous for our local ships to abide by some of these things.

“We also felt it was important that we put in place larger standards for Barbados to be able to achieve,” he added, pointing out that extensive consultations were held with stakeholders in the watersports sector.

The Domestic Shipping regulations include the establishment of marked corridors in the water, using buoys, from which jet-skis and other pleasure craft can operate, thereby reducing the risk of them coming into contact with sea bathers.

“We’ve calculated to put down the buoys will cost about BDS$150 000, nearly $200 000. We’re going to put the lanes down on 31 beaches we have identified. We have done so in conversation with the jet-ski and watersports operators. “You’re going to have these designated points where you enter and exit. Let’s say it’s Carlisle Bay, you enter at a particular point and after 150 – 200 metres, then its open ocean. Once you come back in, it’s back into the lane,” the Minister explained.

The regulations would also make provision for the establishment of no-wake zones (areas in which vessels would have to travel at slow speeds); as well as for Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to be installed on these vessels. The draft Domestic Shipping legislation also speaks to ensuring pleasure crafts are being operated by certified individuals.

In terms of penalties, a lack of compliance would take the form of a ticketing system, with the ultimate penalty being the revocation of their operating license. Mr. Humphrey further disclosed that activity in the proposed zones and corridors would be monitored. He explained that while assistance would be provided by the Marine Police and the Barbados Coast Guard, monitors could be employed to further ensure compliance.

The minister also pointed out that operators of these vessels were encouraged to set up an association to provide representation for their profession. (BGIS)