Watersports operators are being reminded they should have the necessary driver’s licences and registration before operating vessels.
This reminder has come from Shipping Superintendent in the Ministry of International Transport, Walter Best, who stressed that it is an offence to not comply with these regulations.
Mr. Best said those desirous of operating watersports craft should apply to the Ministry’s 8th Floor, Baobab Towers, Warrens, St. Michael office for a licence or permit and to register their vessels.
"[For the licence], persons are required to produce a police certificate of character, three passport-sized photographs, proper means of identification, and payment of $140," he said.
The Shipping Superintendent also stressed that persons who wish to be involved in water sports activities must also be of good repute. "We have people applying for driver’s licences, and some of them have a police record with convictions for drugs," he noted.
Persons having vessels "laid-up" without informing the Director of Maritime Affairs or paying the necessary registration have also come under the Shipping Superintendent’s radar. He is urging them to update the information or register at the Ministry’s offices as soon as possible.
He explained that the requirement for registration, which owners of the vessels must have, is a certificate of sea worthiness, an insurance certificate, proof of ownership of the vessel in the form of a bill of sale or formal receipt, and the mortgage document, if applicable.
He added that in cases where the vessel was unseaworthy, laid-up, or in a state of disrepair, or had mechanical failure, the owners needed to write to the Director of Maritime Affairs for the necessary classification.
"Failure to take this action will result in the payment of annual fees retroactively. And, if you fail to renew your licence, you can lose it," Mr. Best advised. He added that Regulation 4:7 of the Shipping Watersports Regulations of 2004 also allows the Director to reassign a registration number if the holder of that licence fails to renew it within 30 days of its expiration.
Mr. Best explained that a number of people were operating vessels for between eight and 10 years without the appropriate registration. He cautioned that such vessels had no national status or protection in law, and such operators were risking their investment and livelihoods.