HC Deb 04 July 1899 vol 73 cc1417-8
MR. WILLIAM JONES (Carnarvon, Arfon)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the boating calamity that occurred at Pwllheli on Saturday, 1st July, by which twelve persons lost their lives; and whether he can take steps to prevent the overloading of pleasure boats, and so lessen the risks of similar disasters.


Yes, Sir, my attention has been called to the sad accident to which the honourable Member refers, but the Board of Trade have no power to deal with the question of overloading pleasure boats. Under Section 172 of the Public Health Act, 1875, any urban authority may make bye-laws for the licensing of pleasure boats and the number of persons to be carried therein. Any bye-laws so made are submitted to the Local Government Board.


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that the Corporation of Pwllheli do not require licences for sailing and rowing boats used for passengers, and that there is no limit enforced as to the number of persons carried; and whether, after the deplorable accident on Saturday, he will compel the authorities to make necessary regulations to prevent such catastrophes.


The Corporation of Pwllheli are empowered to make bye-laws for regulating the number of persons to be carried in pleasure boats and vessels, but they do not appear to have exercised the power in this case. I cannot undertake to compel the corporation to make bye-laws of this kind, for I doubt if the powers of the Local Government Board extend so far, and, indeed, I hope it would be unnecessary. But I have already directed a communication to be sent to the corporation on the subject, and I have no doubt they will take the necessary steps forthwith.