Maritime speeders can expect tickets

Port authorities and Copenhagen's police are cracking down on boaters breaking maritime speed laws in the harbour

Copenhagen Police will be cracking down on boaters who let the summer sun blind their common sense, port authorities announced on Wednesday.

Pleasure boaters' growing bravado in the harbour have made the waters particularly risky for people in kayaks and other non-motorised crafts.

Maritime law currently permits speeds of up to six knots in the harbour, and up to four in the canal system.

'Speedboaters exceed the four to six knot limit allowed in the harbour, and at the same time the boats are getting larger and larger, creating a dangerous situation,' said harbour master Christian Riis Jensen.

Frank Reuter, deputy police commissioner of Østerbro's local police, said they have been working together with traffic police to test whether it would be possible to measure boat speed with radars as is currently done on roadways. So far, it has proven successful, he said.

Reuter expects the stepped-up speed control on the harbour to take effect in the beginning of August, if not slightly before.

'We need to get some technical matters in place. Then the idea is to step up the speed control in the harbour intensively in order to curb the problem,' said Reuter.

Jensen welcomes the radar measurement system. He said it had been difficult in the past to charge people for sailing too fast without precise measurements of speed.

'Before we could only warn sailors. Most people respected that, but I think it is because people confused us with the police,' said Jensen.

The Port of Copenhagen is providing police with a boat to use for the speed controls. Once implemented, there will be officers patrolling at random as well as regular patrols on Friday and Saturday nights.

The patrols will also keep an eye out for invalid speedboat certificates and people boating without life jackets. Maritime law applies to the harbour, and boaters who get caught speeding can expect to receive fines. There has been no discussion as of yet, of boaters losing points on their driving licences in connection with boating violations.

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