New Legislation – Safe Operation of Personal Watercraft

Legislation to regulate the safe operation of personal watercraft comes into force
The Merchant Shipping (Watercraft) Order 2023 is now law 31st March 2023
The Merchant Shipping (Watercraft) Order 2023, which now recognises a definition of watercraft as applying to any craft capable of moving under its own mechanical power, has come into force today (31 March 2023).
It was confirmed in January by the Department for Transport that the new legislation would bring some previously unregulated activities within the scope of the Merchant Shipping Act (MSA) 1995.
Affecting the whole of the UK, the legislation is intended to act as a deterrent to those who might otherwise use watercraft in a reckless or inappropriate manner. The legislation places a duty on the owner of a watercraft within
UK waters to take all reasonable steps to ensure that it is operated in a safe manner.
If the owner fails to do so then they may commit an offence that is punishable by imprisonment for a term, not exceeding two years or a fine, or both. The law aims to reduce accidents at both the coast and inland waterways resulting in personal injury or damage to property.”

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