In light of this incident, we contacted Bertrand Coste, lawyer at French firm Villeneau Rohart Simon & Associates, to find out the exact regulations surrounding towing toys behind a tender in French waters.
“Coastal navigation in France is generally ruled by ‘prefectoral’ orders,” Coste explains. “On the French Mediterranean coast, activities of pneumatic toys towing are governed by the ‘prefectoral’ order no. 125 / 2013.” This order provides the following rules:
- Towing activities are only allowed during daytime;
- The use of the navigation channel at departure and arrival to the shoreline is necessary;
- Any person on the pneumatic toys shall wear a proper buoyancy device;
- The towed toys and the ship must have a bright colour and must be easily identifiable.
- The towing craft must be equipped with a quick-release system of the towing line and shall display the orange flag;
- At least two persons shall be on board the towing craft: one of them shall exclusively helm the tender and the other one, aged of 16 at least, shall be in charge of watching the persons on the pneumatic toys;
- The towing craft must be able to board all the persons on the pneumatic toys together with those already on board the towing craft.
The Crew Report thanks the captain for alerting others to this incident and wishes to share this information in order to avoid other captains and crew finding themselves in a similar situation.