Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
582. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will confirm the requirement for the wearing of personal flotation devices on any vessel at sea or inland waterway regardless of vessel size; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32540/11]
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Regarding pleasure craft (including personal watercraft and fast powered craft) being operated in Irish waters, the requirements in relation to the wearing of personal flotation devices (PFD) are set out in the Pleasure Craft (Personal Flotation Devices and Operation) (Safety) Regulations 2005 [S.I. No. 921 of 2005]. Under the regulations, a person on a pleasure craft (other than a personal watercraft) of less than 7 metres length overall must wear a suitable PFD while on board an open craft or while on the deck of a decked craft, other than when the craft is made fast to the shore or at anchor. A person must also wear a PFD while being towed by a pleasure craft (other than a personal watercraft) or on board a vessel or object of any kind which is being towed by the craft.
A person on a pleasure craft (other than a personal watercraft) of any size who has not reached 16 years of age must wear a suitable PFD while on board an open craft or while on the deck of a decked craft, other than when the craft is made fast to the shore or at anchor. Every person on a personal watercraft must wear a PFD at all times while on board, or being towed in any manner by a personal watercraft. Exceptions arise where the pleasure craft is being used for rescue, emergency or law enforcement purposes, and for rowers in boats which are designed and specifically used for rowing in boat races or other events, as set out in the regulations. In addition, it is recommended that anyone using a boat alone should wear a PFD at all times regardless of weather conditions or the size of the craft.
Regarding fishing vessels, the requirements in relation to the wearing of personal flotation devices (PFD) are set out in the Fishing Vessel (Personal Flotation Devices) Regulations 2001 [S.I. No 586 of 2001]. Under the regulations, every fishing vessel shall carry a suitable personal flotation device for every person on board. The personal flotation device shall be worn at all times by the crew of the fishing vessel, when on the exposed deck of the vessel, or, in the case of open un-decked vessels, on board the vessel, whether at sea, in harbour or coming to and from moorings.
In relation to other types of commercial vessel including passenger ships or passenger boats, any requirements for the passengers or crew to wear PFDs will be stated on the vessel’s safety certificate or licence.
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