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  • 2019 February 12 12:20

    Traficom: boating year 2018 claimed lives of 51 boaters

    The boating year 2018 continued until late autumn and claimed the lives of 51 boaters, says the Transport and Communications Agency of Finland (Traficom). The accidents followed a familiar pattern of a small boat, older man and cottage shore. The renewed Water Transport Act puts further emphasis on life vests and other floating equipment, which will hopefully reflect on the accident statistics in the future.

    Last year, 51 persons perished in boating accidents. Over this decade, the annual number of fatalities in boating accidents have ranged from the 65 of the heatwave of summer 2010 to the 36 of 2017, the safest boating year on record.

    “Once again, the Vuoksi body of water, known for a high density of summer cottages, comes up in the statistics. The water body includes Finland’s largest lake, Saimaa. Accidents are typically caused by a small rowing or motor boat tipping over or tilting, and the accident usually happens to an older man”, Head of Unit Ville Räisänen summarises.

    Last year, the boating year continued long into October after the hot summer.

    “In fact, based on boating accident statistics, it appears that people have continued using their boats and summer cottages a lot in October as the number of fatalities on water has been up to twice as high compared to a normal October. Last October was warmer and less rainy than on average”, notes Räisänen.

    Unfortunately, the same pattern is repeated in boating accidents year after year.

    “Perhaps the new Water Transport Act will improve the situation, particularly when it comes to using floating equipment. The new act will include a requirement that the master of the watercraft must ensure that passengers are wearing life vests or other floating equipment on the watercraft as circumstances require. Hopefully, this amendment will also be apparent as a decline in boating accidents in future accident statistics”, Räisänen emphasises.

    “The boat master’s responsibility has also been emphasised and clarified in numerous ways in the new Water Transport Act. Indeed, we may hope that the clearer responsibility will mean that the skippers of smaller watercraft will also take their own safety as well as that of others engaging in water traffic better into account before taking boat trips”, Räisänen says.

    The new Water Transport Act is expected to enter into force in June 2020.

    The Transport and Communications Agency Traficom provides boaters with a comprehensive range of services by the authorities from nautical charts to radio licenses, and from boat registration to different certificates and boating safety. Welcome to talk with our experts at the Vene 19 Båt boat show in Helsinki Messukeskus expo centre at the joint department of the authorities 7a130 on 8–17 February 2019.

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