by Penny Robins
A 31-year-old boat builder from Bayview was convicted of operating an unsafe vessel and ordered to pay $7881 in fines and court costs after making modifications so extensive the stability of the vessel was compromised.
NSW Transport Roads and Maritime services
Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) Acting General Manager Maritime Operations Trevor Williams said an RMS investigation into the 4.8 metre boat was the first successful prosecution under new unsafe vessel provisions.
'The Magistrate’s decision demonstrates there is an obligation for the owners of vessels to ensure they are safe before operating on the water,' Mr Williams said.
'The vessel had been modified to such an extent that it was literally an accident waiting to happen.'
Mr Williams said modifications included fitting a motor which was too large for the vessel, removing the steering wheel and installing a tiller handle to the 200 horse power motor, removing seating, removing installed fuel tanks and mounting the motor in an unorthodox manner.
'The net effect was to change the vessel’s centre of gravity to such a degree the stability of the vessel was compromised,' he said.
The RMS investigation followed an incident in which the boat owner’s friend, who had borrowed the boat, lost control and received propeller injuries while under the influence of alcohol on the Easter long weekend last year. He was charged separately with navigating a vessel while having a mid-range prescribed concentration of alcohol is his blood.
The matter was heard at Parramatta Local Court, with the magistrate ordering the Bayview man to pay a $1200 fine, $81 in courts costs and $6600 in professional costs to RMS.
RMS NSW website