A very simple explaination regarding PWC's & section 58 Merchant Shipping Act 1995
- On May 15th 2004 at Bowleaze Cove, Weymouth, a PWC rider collided with another PWC which was stationary in the water. The rider of the stationary ski was thrown into the water and sustained serious facial injuries.
- Such incidents are uncommon and the law has not been tested recently in relation to PWCs and the piece of legislation used. Section 58 Merchant Shipping Act 1995 was applied in this situation; that is the defendant was charged with "doing an act which caused or was likely to cause serious injury."
- This legislation refers to "ships" but not as we would generally percieve them. The definition of a ship under legislation includes "every description of vessel used in navigation". The arguement is whether or not a PWC can be navigated. This issue has been raised in the passed in relation to a "jetski" i.e. a 'stand-up ski'. However, PWCs have dramatically changed in appearance and capabilities and could in all intense and purposes now be navigated.
- This definition is pivotal to this case and any further cases brought in relation to PWCs and Sec 58. The rider in this case was found guilty of the offence and was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment but appealed against his conviction and the decision overturned. Then an appeal went in for the prosecution.
- To date, there has been no desicion in relation to the latest appeal.....watch this space!
- BEWARE - you can still be prosecuted under other legislation including; Local byelaws, Public order, Anti-social behaviour etc etc