According to a press release by the Croatian Ministry of Marine we learnt that ”on average, around 170,000 charter boats and 30,000 sport and leisure boats are navigating Croatian waters during the high season and the Adriatic harbours register more than 750,00 journeys and departures, which means an annual increase of 10%. Therefore, this year‘s co-ordinated action was primarily conducted by the bureaus and outposts and targetted at achieving positive changes for traffic participants in three important areas: Influencing in a pedagogical way in order to improve safety at sea; taking preventive measures in order to reduce the number of accidents and incidents at sea to a minimum and thus realising positive impacts towards the achievement of the priority objective, the protection of human life, the Adriatic’s fragile ecosystem and property at sea (freely translated from the Croatian language)‟.
One of the most frequent causes that is resulting in severe accidents again and again is, according to the Ministry, excessive speeding at a distance of less than 300 metres off the coast, which means a constant threat for swimmers. Only recently such an offence, which is considered as a criminal act even without any incident occured, led to a fatal accident in the Malinska area when a sport boat collided with a 21-year-old female diver.
Furthermore, the Ministry points out that more stringent controls will be carried out in the future in order to check if skippers are navigating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This holds as well for the completeness of the equipment and a possible exceeding of the maximum permitted number of passengers.
SeaHelp would like to stress once again that the regulation defining that not only the owner of a valid boating licence may operate the boat but as well any reliable person designated by him as long as he himself is present on board, is not applicable in Croatia. Here, it is obligatory that the owner of the valid boating licence is the only person to take the helm.