Commercial Recreational Watercraft Act


Published: 2006-08-25

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Commercial Recreational Watercraft Act
COMMERCIAL RECREATIONAL WATERCRAFT [CH.278A – 1





LRO 1/2008 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

CHAPTER 278A

COMMERCIAL RECREATIONAL WATERCRAFT

LIST OF AUTHORISED PAGES

1 - 16 LRO 1/2008



ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

SECTION

PRELIMINARY

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.

PART I - THE AUTHORITY

3. The Port Controller, port authority and functions.
4. Powers of the Authority.
5. Relations between the Minister and the Authority.

PART II - REGISTRATION OF CRAFT;
AUTHORISED OFFICER

6. Register of craft.
7. Requirements in respect of insurance.
8. Craft operators to be licensed.
9. Reckless operation of craft.
10. Sittings of the Authority.
11. Registration and licensing by the Authority.
12. Opposition to grant of registration or licence.
13. Procedure for registration and grant of licence.
14. Certain persons disqualified from owning or operating a craft.
15. Age prohibition to use of craft.
16. Powers of authorised officer.
17. Powers of seizure, arrest by authorised officers.
18. Movement of craft.
19. Signal for craft to stop.

PART III - OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

20. Offences and penalties.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2008

21. Breach of conditions or restrictions of a licence or registration.
22. Intoxicating liquor or controlled substance.
23. Towing.

PART IV - MISCELLANEOUS

24. Right of appeal from decision of the Authority.
25. Accident procedure and suspension.
26. Regulations.
27. Payment into Consolidated Fund.
28. Expenses.
29. Savings.
30. Transitional provisions.


COMMERCIAL RECREATIONAL WATERCRAFT [CH.278A – 3





LRO 1/2008 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

CHAPTER 278A

COMMERCIAL RECREATIONAL WATERCRAFT

An Act to provide for the regulation and control of
commercial recreational watercraft and matters
connected therewith.

[Assent 17th July, 2006]
[Commencement 25th August, 2006]

PRELIMINARY

1. This Act may be cited as the Commercial
Recreational Watercraft Act.

2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise
requires –

“authorized insurer” means a company registered in
The Bahamas to carry on the business of
insurance in respect of craft, personal injury and
loss of life arising from accidents;

“authorised officer” means a member of the Royal
Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas
Defence Force and any officer of the New
Providence Port Authority or Port Department or
an officer authorized under section 38 of the
Local Government Act;

“Authority” means the Port Controller or a port
authority in a port area as defined in the Port
Authorities Act;

“craft” means a commercial recreational watercraft
including banana boats, parasail operations and
any such crafts;

“licence” means a licence issued under this Act;
“Minister” means the Minister responsible for water

sports;
“New Providence Port Authority” means the Port

Authority for New Providence appointed under
the Port Authorities Act;

20 of 2006

S.I. 46/2006.

Short title.

Interpretation.

Ch. 37.

Ch. 269.

Ch. 269.

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“operator” means an owner or a person who manages
or handles a craft;

“owner” includes owner, a part owner or any person
who has possession of a craft;

“passenger” means a person who is carried on a craft;
“Port Controller” has the meaning assigned to it by

section 2 of the Port Authorities Act;
“register” means the register or registers kept by the

Port Controller under this Act and “registered”
means registered in that register or those
registers;

“Registration” means registration of a craft under this
Act;

“Regulations” means regulations made under this Act;
“user” means a person who rents, rides, or is towed or

drawn by a craft;
“waters” means the territorial waters of The Bahamas

as prescribed;
“zoning” means any area designated by the Port

Controller for usage by a craft as prescribed
under regulations.

PART I - THE AUTHORITY

3. (1) The Port Controller or port authority in a port
area as defined under the Port Authorities Act is the
Authority under this Act.

(2) It shall be the function of the Authority –
(a) to regulate, control and administer all matters

related to commercial recreational water sports in
The Bahamas;

(b) to collect all licensing fees and other moneys
payable under this Act except in the Family
Islands where the Administrator shall collect fees
and other moneys that are payable; and

(c) to advise the Government on any matters relating
to its functions.

4. (1) Without prejudice to the generality of the
foregoing provisions of this Act, but subject to the

Ch. 269.

The Port
Controller, port
authority and
functions.
Ch. 269.

Powers of the
Authority.

COMMERCIAL RECREATIONAL WATERCRAFT [CH.278A – 5





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provisions of this Act, the Authority shall have the power
to discharge all things that are necessary to carry out its
functions.

(2) It shall be lawful for any authorised officer to
detain any craft suspected of being operated for hire and
whether registered under this Act or not for the purpose of
preventing or detecting the violation of any of the
provisions of this Act, for so long as is necessary for the
carrying out of his duty.

5. In the exercise of its functions, the Authority shall
afford to the Minister facilities for obtaining information
with respect to the property and activity of the Authority
and shall furnish him with returns, accounts and other
information with respect thereto and afford him facilities
for the verification of any information furnished, in such
manner and at such times as the Minister may require.

PART II - REGISTRATION OF CRAFT;
AUTHORISED OFFICER

6. (1) For the purposes of this Act, the Port
Controller shall maintain a register of all crafts.

(2) The register shall contain a record of the
following —

(a) the name and address of the registered owner,
and, where the owner is a company, the beneficial
owner or owners of the company;

(b) the name of the associated party where the owner
is subjected to a hire purchase agreement;

(c) the registered number, the make, model and serial
number of the craft together with particulars of
any previous registration;

(d) the name and address of the insurer; and
(e) the name and address of the licensed operator of

the craft.

(3) The register may contain such other records and
particulars as may be prescribed by the Minister, as the
case may be.

7. (1) In order to be registered under this Act, a
policy of insurance must be obtained by the owner of the

Relations
between the
Minister and the
Authority.

Register of craft.

Requirements in
respect of
insurance.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2008

craft with requirements as advised by the Authority as
prescribed under regulations.

(2) The policy of insurance shall be effected with an
authorized insurer.

8. (1) No craft shall ply, be offered or let for hire for
use in the waters as prescribed in regulations unless and
until it is registered by the Authority in the port area in
which it is to operate.

(2) The operation of a craft is restricted to the areas
prescribed in regulations.

(3) No person shall act as an operator of a craft
required to be registered under this Act unless and until he
holds a licence for that purpose.

9. (1) No person shall operate or drive a craft —
(a) within two hundred feet of the shoreline in the

designated areas prescribed under regulations;
(b) in wilful or reckless disregard for the safety of

any person or property;
(c) without due caution and circumspection; or
(d) at a speed or in a manner likely to endanger life

or limb or to damage the property of any person;
and

(e) when entering or departing the shore except by
way of the clearly delineated sea lane by the Port
Authority using buoys and ropes between the
open sea and the restricted zone and the shore.

(2) Any person who contravenes the provision of this
section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on
summary conviction to a line not exceeding five thousand
dollars or to imprisonment to a term not exceeding two
years or both.

10. (1) The Authority shall meet once in every
quarter, or as often as is necessary for the purpose of
considering applications, for the grant of licences, and for
any other general purpose as provided for under this Act.
The Authority shall give thirty (30) days notice, in respect
of any new applications and fourteen (14) days notice in
respect of renewal applications of a sitting and shall
publish such notice in the Gazette and in at least one
newspaper in The Bahamas, and, in the case of a port area

Craft operators to
be licensed.

Reckless
operation of
craft.

Sittings of the
Authority.

COMMERCIAL RECREATIONAL WATERCRAFT [CH.278A – 7





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a copy of the notice shall be affixed in a conspicuous place
near to the place of the intended sitting.

(2) Every notice under this section shall set out the
full names and addresses of the applicants and the names
and full descriptions of the craft in respect of which a
licence is being applied for.

11. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the
Authority shall register a craft or grant a licence to an
owner or operator if the applicant satisfies all the
requirements that are specified by the Act and regulations
thereto. All conditions and restrictions shall be endorsed on
the certificate of registration or the licence, as the case may
be.

(2) The Authority may at any time on good cause
being shown and after an owner of a craft for hire or a
licensed operator, as the case may be, has had an
opportunity to explain any complaint against him before
the Authority, cancel a registration or a licence, or impose
conditions and restrictions in respect thereof.

(3) The registration of a craft or the licence issued to
an operator under this Act shall be granted or renewed for a
period not exceeding one year and ending on the thirty-first
day of December.

(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1),
the Minister shall in his discretion determine from time to
time the number of crafts of any type or class that may be
registered at any one time in The Bahamas or in any part
thereof, and notice of which number shall be published in
the Gazette.

(5) Where the Minister proposes to increase or
decrease under subsection (4) of this section the maximum
number of any craft referred to in that subsection, he shall
cause his proposals for that purpose to be published in the
Gazette, and there shall elapse between the date of the
publication in the Gazette and the date of the
announcement or his determination, a period of not less
than thirty days.

12. (1) Any person may oppose the registration of a
craft or the grant of a licence to operate a craft, provided
that —

(a) he has given written notice to the Authority and
to the applicant of his intention to oppose the
registration or the grant of a licence, as the case

Registration and
licensing by the
Authority.

Opposition to
grant of
registration or
licence.

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may be, and has stated in such notice in specific
terms the grounds of opposition; and

(b) such notice has been given to the Authority and to
the applicant not less than six days before the day
fixed for the hearing of the application.

(2) The Authority may, notwithstanding that notice
of opposition shall not have been given, adjourn the
hearing of the application to a future day, and require the
attendance of the applicant and any other person concerned
on such day when the matter will be heard and the
objection considered as if the notice hereinbefore
prescribed had been given.

13. (1) In all islands of The Bahamas an owner of a
craft desirous of obtaining registration or a person desirous
of obtaining a licence to operate a craft for hire under this
Act may apply to the Authority for the port area in which
the craft is to be operated.

(2) An owner of a craft who applies for registration
under this Act shall submit in writing plans, specifications
and inventories of the craft and produce for inspection the
machinery, gear, fixtures, and equipments used in
connection with the craft.

(3) An application under this section may be opposed
before the Authority and the provisions of section 12 of
this Act relating to the opposition of applications shall
apply.

14. It shall not be lawful for any person who —
(a) is under eighteen years of age; or
(b) has been convicted of any offence, which in the

opinion of the Authority renders him unfit to be
the owner or operator of a craft for hire,

to obtain a licence to operate a craft.
15. (1) An owner, operator or a person in charge of a

craft or a person who makes it available for rent shall not
allow a person who is under eighteen years of age to
operate the craft.

(2) A person who is under eighteen years of age shall
not rent or use a craft in and around the waters of The
Bahamas.

(3) Every person who fails to comply with the
provisions of this section shall be guilty of an offence and

Procedure for
registration and
grant of licence.

Certain persons
disqualified from
owning or
operating a craft.

Age prohibition
to use of craft.

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shall be liable on summary conviction to a penalty not
exceeding five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a
term not exceeding two years or both.

16. (1) An authorised officer may question any
person respecting any contravention or suspected
contravention of the provisions of this Act, and may go on
board any craft for that purpose.

(2) The owner or operator of a craft boarded pursuant
to subsection (1) and every person found on board the craft
shall give the authorised officer all reasonable assistance in
his power to enable the officer to carry out his duties and
functions under this Act, and shall furnish the officer with
such information as he may reasonably require.

(3) An authorised officer may, in order to verify and
ensure compliance with this Act,

(a) direct the user of a craft to stop the craft; and
(b) require the user of a craft to produce proof of age.

17. (1) Any authorised officer may at any time
without summons, warrant or other process detain any craft
and any person found in possession of the craft in relation
to which he reasonably believes has been used to commit
an offence.

(2) Where any craft is seized or detained or any
person is detained under subsection (1), the officer shall
take into custody the person and the craft, and if the officer
is not a police officer, that person and craft shall be
delivered as soon as practicable to a police officer.

(3) Where on delivering any person into the custody
of a police officer in accordance with the provisions of
subsection (2) the authorised officer makes a complaint to
such officer that such person has committed an offence
against this Act, the police officer shall as soon as may be
practicable cause such person to be brought before a
Magistrate’s Court to be dealt with according to law, and
no later than the period permitted under section 19 of the
Criminal Procedure Code.

(4) Where any craft is delivered into the custody of a
police officer at any place in accordance with subsection
(2) such craft shall be detained in the custody of the
Commissioner of Police at that place or at such other place
as the Commissioner of Police may direct until the same

Powers of
authorised
officer.

Powers of
seizure, arrest by
authorised
officers.

Ch. 91.

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shall be forfeited or released as the case may be, in
accordance with the provisions of this section.

(5) Any craft detained under subsection (1) shall be
released upon demand to the owner or his duly accredited
agent —

(a) within the period of seven days next following
the date of delivery of the craft to the police
officer, if no proceedings are instituted within the
period against the owner or other person in
charge of the craft, unless the court orders the
further detention of the craft for forensic
examination;

(b) in any case where such proceedings are instituted
as aforesaid and the craft is not liable or ordered
to be forfeited, upon the final determination of the
proceedings and the payment of any fine imposed
by the court in such proceedings, within the time
prescribed by the court for such payment.

(6) Any craft detained under subsection (1) shall be
subject to a lien in favour of the government for the
amount of any fine imposed by the court upon the owner or
other person in charge thereof in any proceedings in
respect of an offence against this Act, and if such fine shall
not have been paid by the due date for payment thereof the
court, at the time of sentencing, may authorize the
Authority, at any time thereafter to sell the craft by public
auction and deduct the amount of the fine or fines unpaid
and the expenses incurred in selling the craft from the
proceeds of the sale and pay the balance to the Treasurer to
be held by the Treasurer and paid by him to such person as
shall satisfy him that he is entitled thereto.

18. (1) Subject to subsection (2), all authorised
officers may, in order to promote public safety or to ensure
compliance with this Act, direct or prohibit the movement
of any craft.

(2) Except in an emergency, an authorised officer
shall not, without the prior consent of the person in charge
of monitoring marine traffic, give a direction under
subsection (1) that would contradict a direction given by
that person in respect of a craft when it is in the territorial
waters of The Bahamas.

19. (1) A signal for a craft to stop shall consist of —

Movement of
craft.

Signal for craft to
stop.

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(a) a series of short blasts on a siren, whistle, horn or
other sounding device; or

(b) any readily understandable usual signal given by
an authorised officer.

(2) Every person shall comply with —
(a) every direction and prohibition given by an

authorised officer pursuant to section 18; and
(b) every signal made by an authorised officer

pursuant to subsection (1).

PART III - OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

20. (1) Every person being the owner of a craft —
(a) required by this Act to be registered who shall fail

to have such craft registered; or
(b) the registration whereof has been cancelled or has

expired; or
(c) which is not submitted for inspection as

prescribed,

and who shall ply, offer or let the same for hire shall be
guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary
conviction to a penalty not exceeding five thousand dollars
or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or
both.

(2) An owner of a craft for hire who operates or
employs an unlicensed person to operate a craft shall be
guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary
conviction to a penalty not exceeding five thousand dollars
or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or
both.

(3) Every owner of a craft who by himself or a
servant shall refuse or fail to admit on his own any person
or persons authorised under this Act to board and enter and
remain on such craft shall be guilty of an offence and shall
on summary conviction be liable to a penalty not exceeding
five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not
exceeding two years or both.

(4) Every person who is the owner, operator or
person in charge of a craft that is operated contrary to this
Act is liable on summary conviction to a fine not
exceeding five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a

Offences and
penalties.

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term not exceeding two years or both unless the craft was
so operated without his knowledge or consent and he
exercised all due diligence to prevent such operation.

(5) Every person whose employee or agent
contravenes this Act is liable on summary conviction to a
fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or to
imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both,
whether or not the employee or agent is identified or has
been prosecuted for the contravention, unless the
contravention was committed without his knowledge or
consent and he exercised all due diligence to prevent its
commission.

21. (1) A breach of any condition or restriction
endorsed on a certificate of registration or licence by the
Authority shall be deemed to be a breach of this Act.

(2) Every person who commits an offence under this
Act for which no specific penalty has been provided shall
be liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding
five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not
exceeding two years or both.

22. Any person who operates a craft while under the
influence of an intoxicating liquor or a controlled
substance, or under the combined influence of an
intoxicating liquor and controlled substance shall be guilty
of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to
a penalty not exceeding five thousand dollars or to
imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.

23. Any person or operator using a craft on the waters
of The Bahamas for towing a person or persons on a
surfboard, a parasail or similar devices without a person
duly licensed in that craft in addition to the operator shall
be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary
conviction to a penalty not exceeding five thousand dollars
or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or
both.

PART IV - MISCELLANEOUS

24. (1) Any person specified in subsection (2) who is
dissatisfied with a decision of the Authority shall have a
right of appeal to the Minister and thereafter may, within
fourteen days of the decision, appeal to the Minister who
may confirm or reverse or otherwise vary the decision.

Breach of
conditions or
restrictions of a
licence or
registration.

Intoxicating
liquor or
controlled
substance.

Towing.

Right of appeal
from decision of
the Authority.

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(2) The persons referred to in subsection (1) are:
(a) an applicant for registration of a craft for hire;
(b) an applicant for a licence to operate a craft;
(c) a person objecting to the registration of a craft for

hire;
(d) any person objecting to the grant of a licence to

an operator of a craft for hire;
(e) any person whose registration has been cancelled

or who has had conditions or restrictions or both
imposed in respect of his registration;

(f) any person whose licence has been cancelled or
who has had conditions or restrictions or both
imposed on his licence.

(3) Any appellant under subsection (1) who is not
satisfied with the decision of the Minister may appeal to a
Judge of the Supreme Court by giving notice of appeal in
writing to the Registrar of the Supreme Court and to the
Minister within fourteen days of the decision of the
Minister, and the notice of appeal shall be given, and the
appeal shall be heard and determined in accordance with
rules made under the Supreme Court Act, and the Minister
and the Authority shall give effect to any order made by
the Supreme Court on any such appeal.

25. (1) In the event of a collision, accident, death or
serious injury involving a craft while being operated within
the waters of The Bahamas, the operator or person in
charge shall give his name and address, and the registered
number of the craft to any person injured in the accident, or
to the owner of any property damaged, and he shall in
addition report the fact to the police within two hours.

(2) The investigating officer in subsection (1) may
withhold the licence of the operator or the person in charge
of the craft, and where the licence is not available shall
direct that it is produced at any police station within twenty
four hours.

(3) The Authority, not including the Port Controller,
shall, in the event of death, suspend the licence of the
operator or person in charge of the craft at the time of the
accident referred to in subsection (1) for such period of
time as it may determine; where the Authority as specified
in this subsection cannot be convened the licence of the

Ch. 53.

Accident
procedure and
suspension.

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operator or person in charge of the craft at the time of the
accident shall be deemed suspended for 3 days.

26. (1) The Minister shall, after consulting with the
Authority, by regulations made under this Act –

(a) prescribe the fees payable under this Act;
(b) prescribe a code of ethics for users and operators

of crafts;
(c) divide all crafts into classes, which classes may

be distinguished by reference to the following
matters —
(i) the unladen weight or overall length or width

of the craft;
(ii) the fact that the watercraft is designed or

adapted to carry only a load, or only
passengers, or both a load and passengers;

(iii) the nature or maximum weight of the load or
the maximum number of passengers which
the craft is designed or adapted to carry;

(iv) the fact that the craft is designed or adapted
to be driven by persons suffering from a
physical defect or disability;

(d) make provision for the prohibition, regulation or
authorisation subject to such restrictions or
conditions as to construction, weight, equipment
or use as may be specified;

(e) make provision for temporary exemptions from
any such provision in respect of any such class of
craft while being used for special purposes or for
tests or trials;

(f) prescribe the various forms to be prescribed under
this Act;

(g) provide for the issue of duplicate certificates of
registration and duplicate licences;

(h) caused to be instituted a proper and enforceable
rotation system;

(i) require every applicant for the registration of a
craft to satisfy the Authority that —
(i) he is a fit and proper person to operate a craft

for hire;

Regulations.

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(ii) he is the owner of the craft in respect of
which the application is made;

(iii) the craft, the appurtenances thereto and any
safety equipment to be registered have been
properly maintained in accordance with the
manufacturer’s recommendations;

(j) require every applicant for a licence —
(i) to satisfy the Authority as to his physical

fitness and competence to operate a craft for
hire before being entitled to be granted an
operator’s licence; and

(ii) to satisfy a qualified medical examiner as to
his physical fitness to continue to hold an
operator’s licence, and to provide for the
cancellation and surrender of any such
licence if the holder fails to satisfy such
examiner;

(k) provide generally for carrying out the objects of
this Act and for any matter to be otherwise
prescribed under this Act.

(2) If a craft is used on the water in contravention of
any regulations made under this section, any person who so
uses such craft or causes or permits it to be used shall be
guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction
therefor to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or to
imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.

27. All fees received by the Authority under this Act,
or under any regulations made thereunder, shall be paid
into the Consolidated Fund.

28. All expenses approved by the Authority and
incurred in administering this Act shall be paid out of the
Consolidated Fund by warrant in the usual manner.

29. Any licence or registration issued under the Boat
Registration Act and the Water Skiing and Motor Boat
Control Act in respect of a craft before the commencement
of this Act —

(a) shall have effect as from the commencement of
this Act as if granted under this Act; and

(b) shall remain in force, for the duration of the
unexpired period as falls after the commencement
of this Act.

Payment into
Consolidated
Fund.

Expenses.

Savings.
Ch. 277.
Ch. 278.

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30. Every register kept in relation to a craft under the
Boat Registration Act and the Water Skiing and Motor
Boat Control Act shall be deemed to be part of the register
to be kept in pursuance of this Act and shall continue to
have effect accordingly.


Transitional
provisions.
Ch. 277.
Ch. 278.

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