Published Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Passengers have the right to demand
safety rules compliance when
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Captains of boats offering vehicles, general public or tourists transportation are responsible for complying with safety measures to protect their crew and clients, the Ministry of Transport said.
In the same way, passengers have the right to demand compliance with security measures before hiring a maritime transport service, authorities added.
Now that the summer begins, known as high tourism season, the authorities call on the owners of boats, or watercraft so-called water scooters, yachts and any type of water transport, to comply with the safety rules to reduce the risk of accidents.
One of the main safety rules is that boats must keep on board visible. Another rule is that certified life jackets must be easily accessible and in good condition.
The number of life jackets on the boats must be equal to the maximum capacity of people on board. The Navigation Certificate or boat license indicates the maximum number of people for each type of ship, Miguel Artavia, Director of Navigation and Security said.
Although the passengers are not experts, they have the right to check that there are enough life jackets for adults and children, in optimal condition.
Also, passengers must demand that all passengers and crew wear the life jacket during the whole trip.
Additionally, every boat dedicated to passenger transport must keep on board enough numbers of ring buoy indicated in the certificate of navigability. The ring buoy is used to launch it into the sea, lagoon or river when a person falls into the water by accident, allowing a quick rescue.
Passengers also have the right to demand the captain show their ship's valid Certificate of Navigability. This certificate is given to the vessels after passing the annual technical inspection carried out by the authorities.
Other tips provided by authorities to avoid accidents during maritime trips are:
• Don't book a trip at night, if the boat doesn't have the conditions for it, such as lighting systems.
• In case of bad weather, avoid travel by boat.
• Verify that the boat has fire extinguishers.
• Never climb or lean on the railing of the boat because the movement caused by the waves could cause a fall into the water.
• In the case of water scooters, the law requires that everyone, the driver and the person on board, wear life jackets.
• Teens under 16 years of age are prohibited from driving a scooter. Minors are only allowed to drive that type of vehicle when the cylinder capacity is less than 400 cubic centimeters.
• Scooters must respect a separation distance of at least 50 meters between them, to avoid crashes.
• Scooters should not travel more than 30 meters from the boat.
Due to the health crisis caused by the pandemic, both the captain and the crew must ensure health guidelines are also being implemented.
Among the most important measures are: maintaining a social distance of 1.8 meters between people, crew and passengers must use face masks all the time, except for the times to eat or drink, and boats must be completely cleaned before the entry of the passengers.
Authorities are calling on people to report any suspicion of faults to the boat's safety measures to 9-1-1.
Have you heard about expats who have suffered water accidents due to a lack of safety measures on boats? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to email@example.com