Pattaya to trial seaside safety plan
Government officials and tourism operators have launched a campaign to increase maritime safety and prevent accidents involving boats transporting tourists in sea off Pattaya and Koh Larn.
- Published: 24/09/2013 at 05:20 PM
- Newspaper section: breakingnews
Chinese tourists board speed boats on the beach of Pattaya resort city, Chonburi province. A campaign is seeking to increase maritime safety and prevent accidents involving boats transporting tourists in sea off Pattaya and Koh Larn. (EPA file photo)
The campaign to reduce boats accidents, initiated by the Marine Department, will be launched in Pattaya and is intended to set a precedent for other coastal tourist destinations across the country. It will be implemented elsewhere if it proves to be successful, Deputy Transport Minister Pong Cheewanan said.
Under the so-called "Pattaya Model", safety zones would regulate different water sports and recreational activities including swimming, banana boats, jet skis and parasailing, while areas for different activities would be clearly separated into zones by lines of buoys.
Safety zones will require boat operators to attend regulatory courses and comply with maritime safety laws or face fines and license suspension or revocation and local officials will designate boat stops in accordance with seasonal changes and control zones in which drivers must reduce their speed.
Mr Pong said drivers of tourist boats would be urged to exercise caution and drive under speed limit, especially when they are approaching piers or docks. They will also be banned from cutting in front of other power-driven vessels within 200 metres away from them, he said.
The Marine Department is to authorise the governor of Chon Buri and district office chief to enforce maritime safety laws by inspecting boat operators and checking whether they have licenses to operate, recruit qualified staff and carry passengers within safe loads for their vessels.
They will also be able to order violators to pay fines, but the power to revoke licenses would still be restricted to the department, Mr Pong added.
“I believe the Pattaya Model to improve maritime traffic safety will encourage operators of coastal and maritime tourism in other tourist areas to provide better safe services,” Mr Pong said.
A study found the majority of boat accidents in the sea off Pattaya and Koh Larn are caused by drivers’ carelessness and violations of the law. For example, drivers too often exceed the speed limit, fail to reduce speed in risky situations, and overload passengers.
Non-licensed and sub-standard boats are also used to transport tourists, the deputy transport minister added.
Boat accidents in the sea off Pattaya and Koh Larn are a regular occurrence. In April this year, 18 South Korean tourists were injured in a speed boat crash, two of whom suffered severed legs. In August, two Chinese tourists were killed and three injured when their speedboat struck an anchored vessel off Pattaya.
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- Writer: Online Reporters
- Position: Online Reporters