Originally Posted by MikeCC
Within UK waters, a "small ship" does not have to be registered and does not have to fly the Red Ensign.
Where does it say in the Act that it MUST be a commercial ship for the Act to apply?
And what difference does it make if the PWC is chartered? The person in charge is still 'master' of the ship.
As Neil (Polwart) says, the Act can be applied to any ship in UK waters.
Perhaps a simple notice on every slipway stating responsibilities and penalties would be a good start.
This is yet another example of a law that has many different ways of interprating it - hence the bloke got off!!!
As the judge said
"LORD PHILIPS OF WORTH MATRAVERS CJ, giving the judgment of the court, said that the relevant provisions, as the title "Merchant Shipping" suggested, were primarily aimed at shipping as a trade or business"
I will grant you that it MAY be possible to say that the merchant shipping act does not only apply to merchant ships - but that is down to the vague way in which it is laid out!!!
Often it is acknowledged that laws are never perfect and they take into account the original meaning or intent. Looking at the rest of the Merchant shipping act it clearly applies to MERCHANT vessels.
By declaring a PWC a ship you also have to declare a surfboard or a rubber dinghy as a ship which as the judge quite rightly said is ludicrous.
It seems to me that the act would apply to a registered vessel but of course registrationis NOT compulsory for small craft - why I wonder? Could it be they aren't really ships???