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Boats: Licensing

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 3 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration she has given to making arrangements under the new boatmasters' licences to give dispensations to boatmasters operating in Category C tidal estuary waters proportionate to the relative risks encountered in their operating waters. (198825)

The Government are considering an amendment to the Merchant Shipping (Inland Waterways and Coastal Operations) (Boatmasters' Qualifications and Hours of Work) Regulations 2006 which would introduce a new category of licence. This would allow masters to operate in a geographically limited area on tidal waters, without the comprehensive and rigorous qualification required by the existing Tier 1, Level 2 licence, subject to the agreement of the relevant navigation and port authorities.

The safety of those who use the UK's waterways has always been the focus of the BML, and it is this concern for safety that led to the current situation of onerous qualification requirements. Any amendment to the BML regulations will follow extensive consultation to ensure that public safety will not be compromised.