You can't light up on your own bathing platform, says Gov

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The Government has launched a consultation on a plan to ban smoking on all commercial boats.

The idea is to extend the Health Act 2006 to any watercraft covered by the Merchant Shipping Act. Smoking would be banned except in defined and clearly marked smoking areas. Outside of these areas, no smoking signs would need to be prominently displayed.

It would be an extension of the existing legislation that governs smoking in public places in England and Wales.

The Department for Transport have however made an exception for pleasure craft.

Privately owned vessels used for charter, though, would be hit ‘where one or more employees work on the craft’.

The British Marine Federation explain: “Any craft that carries at least one passenger for commercial purposes will also be included under the new regulations. However, those staff that operate on a craft in a wholly self-employed manner will not qualify as an employee under these new regulations.”

The Health Act stipulates how a smoking area may be designated, including restrictions on ventilation, size etc.

The regulations would apply to all vessels in UK territorial waters (including inland waters), ‘except for those craft engaged in innocent passage or transiting through straits used for international navigation’.

The Department has stated: “Although these Regulations will apply only when ships are in UK waters, the Government would like to see companies taking a forward approach and implementing this policy on board UK registered ships wherever they are in the world.”

The Marine Coastguard Agency (MCA) would be responsible for enforcing the ban and would prosecute under three new regulations: smoking in a smoke free place, failing to display no smoking signs and failure to prevent smoking in a smoke free place.

The first offence can, at the discretion of the MCA, can be dealt with by means of a £50 fixed penalty while the remaining two offences can only be dealt with in a court of law.

These new regulations could affect hire fleets who supply staff on their chartered vessels.

It would also affect manufacturers who would need to supply vessels with no smoking signs compliant with the regulations of the Health Act if that vessel was intended to be operated or attended to by a crew in UK waters.