The Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Torbjørn Røe has initiated an action plan to reduce the number of serious accidents related with the use of recreational boats in Norwegian waters. The government has a zero-accidents vision for boat traffic.
The target is to achieve zero accidents associated with recreational boats at sea. For this reason, the Norwegian Maritime Directorate was tasked to prepare the plan, which covers the period from 2019 to 2023.
In addition to the zero vision, an ambitious milestone for the first period has been set: 50% reduction in the number of fatalities associated with use of recreational boats before the end of the planning period.
“We want everyone to come home safely when they have been on the sea, either in a leisure boat or in a more professional context. A lot of good attitude work has already been done, and people have also become more aware of their own safety. The fact that we have now reached a joint action plan will make the cooperation on attitude-building work even better and more targeted, and then we also believe we will see a further decline in the number of fatalities”, said Acting Maritime Director Alf Tore Sørheim.
In the period 2009-2018, 351 fatalities were registered with an average of 35 deaths annually. What is more, in recent years, there has been a steady decline and in 2018 the lowest number of fatalities with recreational craft was recorded for as long as the Norwegian Maritime Directorate has conducted statistics in this field.
This trend appears to continue in 2019, with only nine fatalities reported in the first half – a reduction of 3 persons compared with 2018.
The most common types of accidents with fatalities are persons overboard, edging, grounding, collision and falling between boat and pier. The working group behind the action plan has chosen to focus on nine focus areas:
– Safety at pier/harbor;
– Vessel Safety;
– Boat rental;
– Boat driver’s expertise;
– Improvement of the factual basis.
Except for the nine focus areas, the working group has also highlighted the importance of visible police and an effective rescue service. Moreover, the group discussed about whether some areas have a need for further regulations. Examples of this are the hiring out of boats and the competence requirements for carrying pleasure boats at high speed.