§ 18. Mr. STRANGER
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that those rated as able seamen engaged on British merchant vessels are not tested for eyesight before signing on; and whether he will take the necessary steps to ensure that such seamen undergo eyesight tests similar to those to be passed by candidates qualifying as masters and mates in the merchant service?
The sight tests are compulsory only in the case of candidates for officers' certificates, hut they are open to all seamen, and many seamen are in fact tested. Owners can require seamen to produce proof that they have had their sight tested before they engage them, but to compel all seamen to have their sight tested before they are signed on would require legislation, and I doubt whether there is sufficient case for this.
§ Mr. STRANGER
Does not the Board of Trade recognise that the safety of all seamen depends upon the men having their sight good, and is it not therefore desirable that all seamen should have their sight tested?