Amendments to the Water Traffic Act proposed

Press release 15.04.2021 15.50 fi sv en

(Photo: Shutterstock)

The Government proposes amendments to the Water Traffic Act, particularly to the provisions on water traffic safety and supervision. The Government submitted its proposal to Parliament on 15 April 2021.

The comprehensive reform of the Water Traffic Act entered into force on 1 June 2020. Needs to specify the Act have emerged, for example, in connection with practical monitoring and after entirely new types of watercraft have entered the market.

Specifications are proposed to the Act’s provisions on canals. It is proposed that access to a lock canal could, for safety reasons, be banned for certain watercraft or their access to it could be restricted. For example, the ban or restriction could apply to the use of personal watercraft in older lock canals with a strong current.

Specifications are proposed to the qualification and equipment requirements for recreational craft bigger than recreational boats. In addition, the processes of canal decisions and registration of watercraft are proposed to be specified.

It is proposed that the possibility to grant exemptions to regulations concerning the equipment and supplies of a certain type of watercraft intended for sport and leisure activities be added to the Act. The provision would be needed because of the rapid development of new watercraft. These include motorised surfboards, which are already found in Finland and are practically impossible to use in compliance with all of the equipment requirements.

It is proposed that the definition of aids to navigation include virtual navigational aids. They would mainly be used temporarily in areas where a physical navigational aid is difficult to maintain. Broadening the definition would promote maritime automation.

What next?

A referral debate will be held on the proposal now submitted by the Government to Parliament. The timetable for the debate will be listed on Parliament’s website (upcoming plenary sessions). After the debate, the proposal will be sent to a Parliamentary Committee.

The Act is proposed to enter into force on 1 July 2021.


Irja Vesanen-Nikitin, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 40 544 9673