Written Answers. - Water Sports Vehicles.

Jack Wall

Question:

182 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the position in regard to proposals to enable local authorities to adopt regulations on the operation of jet skis within their jurisdiction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26290/03]

Section 33(1) of the Merchant Shipping Act 1992, inserted by section 44(11) of the Merchant Shipping (Investigation of Marine Casualties) Act 2000, provides for the introduction of regulations to enable local authorities to make by-laws for the control of personal watercraft and fast powercraft in areas under their jurisdiction. However, my Department has received legal advice that this provision might be open to challenge in light of recent case law. Consultations are taking place at this time between my Department and the Office of the Attorney General regarding a possible amendment to this provision.

My Department is also discussing with the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the option of using powers provided under section 37 of the Local Government Act 1994 regarding the making of by-laws by local authorities. However, the position here is that while section 37(1) of this Act allows local authorities to make by-laws covering jet skis and other fast watercraft in respect of areas that are under their control, it is unclear whether local authorities can make by-laws in respect of water areas not directly under their control.
I have requested my Department to bring forward proposals as quickly as possible to assist local authorities in adopting regulations on the operation of jet skis in any waters within their jurisdiction where such controls are required.