Out of 306 vessels checked during routine inspections in 2011, 113 were found contravening regulations and were charged, whilst another 118 vessel owners were warned.
Marsaxlokk, Tigné (Tas-Sliema) and Cirkewwa are three new zones Transport Malta has reserved exclusively as from swimmers for this summer. These bring the total number of swimmers' zones around the Maltese Islands to 45.
As customary, the designation of these swimmers' zones have become the salient feature of the Authority's summer campaign, now in its 17th year, aimed at educating boat owners to enjoy their pastime in a responsible way and in full respect of regulations and swimmers.
Other initiatives by Transport Malta include the installation of 40 speed marker buoys and four additional buoys to mark hazardous reefs which may pose a potential threat to mariners (at Marsalforn Gozo, Blue Lagoon, Gnejna Bay and Ghallis Rock in Qawra).
Similar to last year, TM enforcement personnel will also act as bay coordinators at Blue Lagoon, Comino and at Mellieha Bay. The role of these coordinators is primarily educational and has proved to be very useful in ensuring disciplined use of these two popular bays.
During the upcoming months, Transport Malta, together with the Police, will intensify its efforts in conducting sea patrols around the Maltese islands.
Statistics for patrols conducted by TM during last summer indicate that almost 70% of the charges issued were related to over-speeding. In fact, out of 306 vessels checked during routine inspections, 75 vessels were found to be in order, 113 vessels were found contravening the regulations and were charged, whilst another 118 vessel owners were warned.
"In line with our objective to promote a safer culture within all modes of Transport, the Authority is stepping up its efforts to educate and increase safety awareness among boat users," TM chief executive Stanley Portelli said.
"We are encouraged by the positive feedback we receive each year and look forward to further. Thanks to the commendable efforts and contribution of the media, the enforcement officers, the ALE section of the Police Force and the Maritime Squadron of the AFM, the annual Safety at Sea campaign has become a nation-wide initiative that generates interest and instigates the adoption of a safety culture whilst at sea.
"Boat users are urged to navigate safely, adopt a safe speed according to the circumstances and always keep a good lookout. Transport Malta wishes both the swimmers and boat users an enjoyable safe summer and urges everyone to enjoy it responsibly."