Better rules may have saved boating victims / News / The Foreigner

Better rules may have saved boating victims. Two recent boating accidents that left several Norwegians dead could have been avoided with improved regulations. None of the victims killed this week had a lifejacket on. Current lifejacket rules only stipulate they have to be available onboard. When asked why, the Ministry of Trade and Industry writes in an email to The Foreigner that, “We have a wide range of regulations, and other measures. Whilst the need to change these must be under constant appraisal, we are not considering making life jackets obligatory at this point.

vestfoldboatingaccidents, complusorylifejackets, hvalerboatingtragedy



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Better rules may have saved boating victims

Published on Thursday, 14th July, 2011 at 13:56 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 14th July 2011 at 15:05.

Two recent boating accidents that left several Norwegians dead could have been avoided with improved regulations.

Vestfold police boat (illus. ph.)
Vestfold police boat (illus. ph.)
Photo: Politiet i Vestfold/Flickr


Unclear

None of the victims killed this week had a lifejacket on. Current lifejacket rules only stipulate they have to be available onboard.

When asked why, the Ministry of Trade and Industry writes in an email to The Foreigner that, “We have a wide range of regulations, and other measures. Whilst the need to change these must be under constant appraisal, we are not considering making life jackets obligatory at this point.

“We can never guarantee that tragic accidents will not occur, but if the public respected the regulations already in place, such as speed limits, rules regarding the use of alcohol, and guidelines for good conduct, some of these accidents could be avoided.”

Nevertheless, unified regulations for speeds or distances from land remain absent. Each municipality has the power to introduce local restrictions and erecting speed limit signs is up to council officials.

According to the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA), this was not always the case.

“The law was amended briefly in 2003 whilst Sven Ludvigsen was Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs. It used to read that vessels shall not travel faster than 5 knots within a distance of 50 metres from land, permanent structures, or facilities, but this was repealed after just a few weeks,” says NCA senior communications advisor, Sveinung Nedregotten.

Moreover, blood alcohol limits at sea are higher than when driving a car. Whilst boaters are allowed 0.8%, it is 0.2% for motorists.

Minister of Justice Knut Storberget says in a press statement that the government is not considering amending these for now, although it is constantly seeking to improve security for all.

“Everyone has a responsibility for safety at sea. Exceeding alcohol limits and boating do not mix. It is important that police are present.”

Change

Per-Erik Burud
Per-Erik Burud
Norgesgruppen
Whilst police are still searching for missing, now presumed deceased Kiwi supermarket chain Managing Director, Ingvar Johnsen, press spokesperson for Norwegian Sea Rescue, advocates amendments to lifejacket rules need amending.

“Using these [lifejackets] whilst boats are moving should be obligatory. We also recommend these contain floatable material in the collar designed to rotate people right side up in the water. Automatically inflatable lifejackets should be worn by people who are poor swimmers.”

Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, has also now asked the NCA to look into suggesting new rules regarding speeds and distances, although she will not decide yet if they should apply to the whole country

“People should be able to travel safely and have positive experiences on the sea. The recent tragic boating accidents show us how important safety is. It is evident that there are differences between the Oslo Fjord and the coast of Finnmark. For example, there are major differences regarding daylight at night between southern and northern Norway.

"At the same time, driving quickly in the dark is likely to increase the risk of accidents. Any decision about different speed limits depending on local coastal conditions should be left to those who are competent,” she concludes.



Published on Thursday, 14th July, 2011 at 13:56 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 14th July 2011 at 15:05.

This post has the following tags: vestfoldboatingaccidents, complusorylifejackets, hvalerboatingtragedy.





  
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