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Seminar promotes water sport safety (with photos)

     To enhance the public's knowledge on water sport safety, the Marine Department (MD), the Hong Kong Police Force and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) held the 2016 Safety Afloat Educational Seminar at the Hong Kong Space Museum today (May 12). The Assistant Director of Marine (Port Control), Mr Lai Chi-tung, spoke at the seminar and reminded the public to be well prepared before participating in water sport activities to ensure safety.

     The MD reminded ship masters and boat operators to make appropriate preparations before setting sail for water sport activities. They should plan the voyages and consider whether the vessel's structure is suitable for the water area and the activity to be conducted. There should be enough experienced crew members on board to guide passengers to follow safety instructions when engaging in water sport activities. Ship masters or boat operators should also familiarise themselves with all the safety precautions and contingency measures, check the vessel's structure and its safety equipment on board before setting sail, and know the location of the equipment and how to use it. They should also collect sufficient weather forecast information for the whole voyage and take heed of weather conditions or warnings.

     Ship masters operating pleasure vessels should not enter shallow or dangerous waters, and should navigate slowly in speed-restricted zones or waters with others taking part in water sport activities. Boat operators should take appropriate safety measures to avoid any possible risk if they see other water sport activities nearby.

     In recent years, there has been a trend for the water sport season to begin earlier. Some pleasure boats would operate at high speed near popular areas for water sport activities, which affects the safety of other users in the sea. The MD said the current legislation on speed-restricted zones has been in place for many years and the department is now conducting a review on the relevant legislation. This includes studies to adjust the number of speed-restricted zones and extend the duration of the restriction, and a review on the penalty for violations. The MD will consult the industry and the local community on the proposed amendments at an appropriate time.

     In addition, swimmers should swim at beaches with lifeguards on duty, stay inside the beach area and avoid swimming near anchored vessels. They should understand their physical abilities, take care of their children and avoid swimming alone or away from companions. They should also refrain from swimming right after consumption of food, alcohol or drugs.

     The MD will continue its promotional and educational work to enhance the safety awareness of the public. Furthermore, officers of the Marine Police and the MD will step up their patrol activities in speed-restricted zones, waters in the vicinity of popular beaches and water sport sites, and will take action against any illegal or reckless boating activities. The LCSD lifeguards will also keep an eye out for boating activities at beaches and the adjacent waters. They will alert officers of the MD and the Marine Police to take law enforcement action against offenders when necessary.

    The MD hopes that the industry and the public will co-operate in promoting water sport safety, so that everyone can enjoy pleasant leisure activities.

Ends/Thursday, May 12, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:40


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