New action plan initiated by Norwegian government

The Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Torbjørn Røe has initiated an action plan to reduce the number of serious accidents relating to the use of recreational craft.

The aim of the plan is to have a zero accident vision of boat traffic. An ambitious target has been set for the first period which is a 50% reduction in the number of fatalities associated with the use of recreational craft by the end of 2023.

Between 2009 and 2018 there were 351 fatalities recorded, which is an average of 35 annually. There has been a steady decline and in 2018 the number of fatalities was the lowest ever recorded since statistics have been collected. The trend appears to have continued this year with nine fatalities recorded in the first half of 2019 – three fewer compared to the same time last year.

The most common types of accidents leading to fatalities are persons falling overboard, groundings, collisions and people falling between the boat and the pier. To reach the target of zero fatalities, the working group will focus on nine areas of operations. These include drug use, safety at the pier and in harbours, speed, boat rentals and boat driver experience.

There will be an increased presence of police and rescue services on the water and consideration is being given to further regulations such as those applicable to hire boats and the competence of people operating boats at high speeds.

Acting maritime director Alf Tore Sørheim commented: “We want everyone to come home safely when they have been on the sea, either in a leisure boat or in a more professional context. A lot of good attitude work has already been done and people have also become more aware of their own safety. The fact that we have now reached a joint action plan will make cooperation on attitude building work even better and more targeted and then we believe that we will see a further decline in the number of fatalities.”