A 31-year-old boat builder from Bayview NSW has been convicted of operating an unsafe vessel and ordered to pay $7,881 in fines and court costs after making modifications so extensive the stability of the vessel was compromised.
Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) Acting General Manager Maritime Operations, Trevor Williams, said yesterday the RMS investigation into the 4.8 metre boat was the first successful prosecution under new unsafe vessel provisions.
He said the magistrate’s decision demonstrates there is an obligation on boat owners to ensure their boat is safe before operating on the water.
Mr Williams said the boat had been modified to such an extent that it was literally an accident waiting to happen.
The modifications included fitting a motor which was too large for the craft, removing the steering wheel and installing a tiller handle to the 200hp 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 it was very unstable and therefore not safe.
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 whilst having a mid-range prescribed concentration of alcohol is his blood.