Yachtsmen who hit buoys, sail with faulty VHFs or torn sails could face imprisonment say the RYA

The RYA is taking legal action to stop the implementation of a new law which could land bungling yachtsmen in jail.

The new regulations make it a criminal offence, punishable by up to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to £5,000, if skippers do not comply with strict reporting requirements when a craft is involved in an incident or accident.

The definitions of ‘accident’ and ‘incident’ are very broad; examples include hitting a buoy during a race, a dinghy capsize, a flat battery, a faulty VHF radio, a crack in a transom, a torn sail or a berthing manoeuvre involving two craft touching would all have to be reported or criminalisation risked.

The RYA maintain that regulation 4(5)(e) of the final Merchant Shipping (Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Reporting) Regulations was unlawful and are moving to gain a quashing order to eradicate it.