Saturday, February 1, 2014

EU Directives for Recreational Craft Are Set to Change

Man has this propensity to make and change laws. It's a necessity when you have more than 7 billion people trying to occupy this little bit of land mass that is shrinking. I thought things were complicated in the United States of America. Then I moved to Ireland and started to understand what complexity is all about. Millenia of law, altered by invaders and foreign rulers, with precedent upon precedent being reversed, challenged, and rewritten, until no one can tell what's what. Makes it easy to understand how people can evolve into sidestepping behaviors.

And then there is maritime law, where nothing has changed in hundreds of years.  Admiralty law guides everything on the high seas.  People from nations around the world have agreed to a set of principles that guides all behavior at sea. It's called the COLREGs or International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea . Bottom line is that it is everyone's responsibility to avoid collision at all cost. How extraordinary. Someone actually got the whole world to buy into one set of rules. How on earth did that happen?  Oh right, it's not earth, it's ocean. Imagine getting one set of laws for land dwellers to agree on. Hah!  Truly extraordinary. In harbour, everyone has a different set of rules. Once you are on the high seas, it's one way or no way.

Periodically things do change a little. Individual countries have different ways of registering boats and licensing operators. Europe is getting ready to change the laws about how personal watercraft and small boats are registered and operated and how personal flotation devices are labeled among other things.  Boats in harbours, especially cruise ships, will have to use sanitation devices and marinas will have to provide pump out stations. (I didn't realize cruise ships didn't already do that. Yuch!)

It will be interesting to see how the vast number of boats with no sanitation devices are brought up to standards or grandfathered in these ancient cruising grounds.  Just think, they'll be fueling a whole new economy with poop out (oops that's pump out) services. I think I'll watch from a safe distance.

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