The Crew Report was recently contacted by the captain of a 34m motoryacht who was recently pulled over in French waters by the local police patrol whilst towing toys behind a tender. The police pointed out that, when towing any toys behind a tender, there must be a quick release connected from the towline to the boat, with the normal orange flag and One Observer in place. They did not fine the captain in question but asked for his licence, home address, phone number and the boat’s registration details.

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.
Coste notes that the other prefectoral orders for the Atlantic and Northern coast of France are similar.

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.