§ Mr. Patrick McNair-Wilson
asked the Minister for Trade if he will take steps to ensure the provision of safety training for those intending to operate power boats; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Sproat
I fully share my hon. Friend's concern with this matter, and particularly with the sad accident off Littlehampton last weekend when four people were drowned.
My Department does all it can to promote awareness of the need for safety measures. The seaway code is the subject of a major advertising campaign. The Coastguard operates the yacht and boat safety scheme, providing advice in all sorts of ways. Local broadcasts are a great help. But there are over 700,000 small boats now in United 172W Kingdom waters and I cannot give an assurance that safety training will be available to all who are likely to use them. As the Littlehampton accident showed, some elementary precautions would help enormously: life jackets should always be worn, and boats should not be taken to sea when the weather is poor and getting worse. I urge everyone who uses a small boat to follow the advice set out in the seaway code.