Fines out on the Waves

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
By Hugh MacArthur

MOT Coast Guards Rio AragonThe crisis hit the nautical, leisure industry pretty hard with the sector taking a 70% hit; small craft were sold and ports lost mooring fees.

But things have begun to creep back up again and the amount of people registering newly acquired motorboats and sailing dinghies, both new and secondhand have increased.

The Servicio Marítimo de la Guardia Civil who patrol the bays and coastal waters and whose task it is to make sure that everybody has the essential licences, permits and papers in general, have also noticed the increase of all kinds of craft criss crossing the offing, both privately owned or hired out.

The Guardia Civil patrol boat, Río Aragón officially covers all the beaches along the Costa Tropical but generally concentrates on Almuñécar and La Herradura, as well as between Playa Granada and Playa Punta del Río (La Cagaílla); that’s to say up to the Rio Guadalfeo mouth.

More than any other craft they stop ski-jets to inspect the paperwork, as they are the most “conflictive,” the G.C. consider. Most have all the necessary docs, but some fain ignorance.

The reason that the Coast Guard consider them conflictive is because you need just the minimum permit to use one as they are not categorised as High-Speed Craft even though they can have powerful engines (150 CV) giving them a top speed of 80 KPH.

COS Jet SkiAnd of course, with more things out there on the waves, the number of fines has increased. Last summer, for example; i.e., between June and September, the Coast Guards issued 118 fines for a variety of infractions, 36 of which where for ski-jets.

So far this summer, just for June and July, (up to the 23rd) the Coast Guards have knocked up 76 fines (24 for jet-skis). In other words, they have reached 64% of the 2017 figures but just in two months. So, all indications are that 2018 will surpass the 2017 total.

The most common fine is the one for not having the proper licence for the craft. Another ‘high scorer’ is not having Civil liability Insurance for such activity.

Summing up, to use a jet-ski you have to be over 18, wear a life jacket, possess a licence (there are three kinds depending on the cylinder size), the craft must be registered (have a matricula).

If you’ve hired it, the company must insure that you have the correct licence and are old enough – the other requirements are their problem.

To use other kinds of leisure craft you also need just about the same as above, if not more.

And just like driving a car, it’s not just about having all your paperwork in order; you have to obey the highway code, so the watery equivalent requires that you know your buoys, where you can go and where you can’t and the speed restrictions in different areas.

We’ll leave you with this thought: the Coast Guards don’t need to get you to heave over to inspect your paperwork because they have a system for doing it at a distance. It works the same way as the normal traffic police who only have to point a camera at your number plate to know if you have a valid insurance and ITV, it’s called ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition).

(News: Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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