UK Court: PWC is Subject to Merchant Shipping Act

Thursday, July 07, 2005
At a hearing at Salisbury Crown Court, Mark Goodwin, a 25 year old Weymouth man pleaded guilty to riding his Yamaha Wave Runner in contravention of Section 58 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995. Prior to this the judge had been asked to rule on whether the Personal Watercraft was a ship in terms of the Merchant Shipping Act. In his ruling Mr Recorder A Davies QC concluded that it was indeed a ship and that the legislation applied.

This prosecution followed a joint investigation by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Dorset Police Marine Section into a collision on Saturday 15 May 2004 off of Bowleaze Cove in Weymouth during which the rider of another Personal Watercraft, Paul Facer, also from Weymouth sustained serious head injuries.

Sentencing will be dealt with at Dorchester Crown Court on 5th August 2005.

Mark Rodaway, Coastguard Area Operations Manager said ”We welcome this ruling as it enables the MCA, in conjunction with police authorities and other agencies to be more pro-active in promoting the safe operation of these craft. It also clarifies the position for the users of Personal Watercraft and ensures that disregard for the proper operation of them will be brought to the attention of the courts.”

Sergeant Andy Hack of Dorset Police's marine section said: "Following yesterday's ruling it's important that all those using personal watercraft recognize that they have the same responsibilities as all other water users in respect of Collision Regulations and The Merchant Shipping Act. We encourage all users to undertake training under the Royal Yachting Association's syllabus.

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