‘Amateur’ water sports boat operators risk lives of tourists

JOSEPH PINTO | NT

Calangute

Water sports activities are a popular attraction for
tourists in Goa, however, some water sports owners risk lives of tourists by
hiring unlicensed operators to ride the boats to save a few thousands on
salaries.

Owing to this, many minor accidents have come to light
involving tourists swimming in the swimming zone due to rash riding. Such
tourists have also brought the matter to the attention of the prime minister’s
office and the ministry of tourism, New Delhi through letters.

Water sports activities such as jet ski, banana rides,
para sailing, scuba diving, dolphin trips are popular among the tourists.

However, the water
sports owners sometimes hire amateur operators and the reason being to cut cost
on salaries and in such a situation the water sports activity becomes a risky
adventure. A para sailing boat operator
is paid between Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000.

President of Sinquerim Water Sports Association Paul
Silveira, when contacted, said that water sports owners in Goa do not have a
state-level water sports association.

“Due to occurrence
of incidents, I had moved the High Court and then a queue system was put in place.
Regarding amateur operators, the authorities should crackdown on those who do
not have license to operate the water sports boats. These two seasons, the
business has been slack due to drop in tourist footfalls,” he said.

As per the records of Captain of Ports, the number of
vessels registered in Goa is 2000 while licenses issued by the National
Institute of Water Sports are 1807 for the whole of India of which around 50
per cent constitute Goans.

As per para sailing records from the Captain of Ports, the
number of vessels registered is 198 while the National Institute of Water
Sports has issued 89 licenses in three years indicating that 109 operators are
without the license.

Nodal officer, Professor Sutheeshna Babu of National
Institute of Water Sports, Goa, when contacted, said “that this is the only
department issuing license for operating sports vessels in whole of India. The
water sports owners obtain license for one boat and if having another boat, it
is let in the hands of amateur operator as such minor accidents take place.”

The Captain of Ports
James Braganza, when contacted, said that the National Institute of Water
Sports, being the licensing authority, needs to act on irregularities.

PI (tourism) Suraj
Divkar told this daily that till two years ago, there used to be many incidents
involving water sports boats but now with lean tourist season that number has
reduced and not many tourists prefer to complain to the police in case of any
minor mishap.

Coastal PI Wilson D’Souza said that “when we go out on
patrolling at sea to keep terror activity at bay we crack down on water sports
operators for not having lifejackets, overloading, the operator not possessing
licence or for conducting the activity beyond one nautical mile and then we
hand them over to the tourism department for action.”

Deputy director of
tourism Rajesh Kale said that “there have been instances wherein tourists have
written to the prime minister’s office and ministry of tourism, New Delhi on
issues related to water sports activities in Goa. When the costal police refer
erring operators to us, we carry out an inquiry and impose a fine between Rs
2000-5000. However, we do not have the manpower to keep a check on the
activities of the operators.”

SP Dinraj Govekar, coastal and marine police, said when
erring operators are handed over to the concerned departments, those
departments are the ones that have to take necessary action.
The post ‘Amateur’ water sports boat operators risk lives of tourists appeared first on The Navhind Times.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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