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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Maritime laws consultation launched

01 June 2023

The Government has launched a public consultation ahead of proposed law changes designed to make Jersey’s inshore territorial waters safer.

The consultation, which opens today, will offer Islanders the chance to have their say on proposed alterations to maritime laws. These include the definition of a ‘vessel’, and the introduction of new offences for where a person has caused death or serious injury while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or through careless operation of a ship.

The outline proposals were published in October 2022 within the Minister for Economic Development’s 2023 Ministerial Plan. If enacted, the changes would amend the Shipping (Jersey) Law 2002 and the Harbours Inshore Safety Regulations 2012.

The Government wants to broaden the definition of a ‘vessel’ to include smaller watercraft that are used solely for social activities on the water. These watercraft might include jet skis and smaller speedboats, so that everyone who enjoys using Jersey’s waters does so with an equal level of responsibility.

The introduction of these new laws will allow for adequate prosecution of a person if careless behaviour and/or the consumption of alcohol or drugs has led to a death or serious injury.

The Government believes there are social, economic and cultural advantages to making these changes, which will also remove legal anomalies which currently allow some seafarers to use Jersey’s waters at a lower level of legal responsibility to others.

The Minister for Economic Development, Deputy Kirsten Morel said: “Jersey’s inshore waters are the jewel in our island’s crown. I want everyone who enjoys seafaring in Jersey to have the best possible experience. Jersey has so much to gain from ensuring such an environment. These changes will help Jersey’s maritime economy grow and they will also make sure that all seafarers are more aware of their responsibilities under law.” 

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