A captain was recently issued a €1000 spot fine when a jetski registered to the yacht was caught speeding in the 300m zone. The jetski was being driven by a newly certified deckhand who had completed the required training and was well aware of the speeding penalties. This crew member had also signed the previously distributed email detailing the regulations and possible penalities that could result if caught speeding.
Unfortunately, although the Captain had followed all the correct and necessary procedures, he was still the unfortunate recipient of the fine. In French Maritime Waters the Captain is the legal representative and person responsible for all the crew onboard – including their actions when operating tenders or jetskis. Due an increasing number of incidents involving speeding, authorities are now clamping down on those disregarding the speed limits and this can have very serious implications for yacht captains.
In the hearing the maritime officer issued a warning to the yacht, stating that should a similar offence take place within 12 months, the fine could increase substantially and the captain could even face the risk of six months imprisonment. The captain could also be banned from navigating in French Maritime Waters for up to 12 months.
This highlights once again the importance of briefing and training crew to adhere to speed regulations. With the seriousness of the risk to captains it is advised that they prohibit the use of jetskis or tenders by crew who do not demonstrate competence or a responsible attitude. Captains could even consider making the offender personally responsible for payment of the fine.
In most channels leading to and from ports, as well as temporary channels made to beach tenders, speed is limited in certain zones. It is the Captain’s responsibility to be aware of the speed limits and to brief all crew accordingly. Crew also have a responsibility to their captain to make use of tenders or jetskis in a responsible manner.
Author credit: Camper Nicholsons