A week before two Chinese tourists would die in yet another speedboat accident, the head of the Pattaya Tour Boat Operators Club met with operators to inspect licenses and urge them to install safety equipment.
Pattaya City Councilman Sanit Boonmachai, the president of the tour-boat group, met with operators at city hall Aug. 21 to inspect boat registrations and captains’ licenses, as well as urge boat to keep their equipment well maintained.
Pattaya City Councilman Sanit Boonmachai, the president of the Pattaya Tour Boat Operators Club, meets with operators to inspect licenses and urge them to install safety equipment.
The meeting also covered parking at Bali Hai Pier, which is serviced, Sanit said, by 120 boat operators and 500 speedboats and jet skis. Boats with two engines would be given priority, he said, followed by single-engine craft and then jet skis. The prioritization is necessary to increase tourist convenience and the pier’s efficiency, he said.
Sanit’s warnings about a congested pier would prove prophetic, as a week later a speedboat carrying 20 Chinese tourists hit a single-engine longtail boat parked 200 meters from the pier. It was the fourth grim speedboat accident this year.
A Polish woman was killed by a speedboat propeller in January in Jomtien Beach and a Thai taxi driver swimming in Najomtien had his throat cut by a boat prop in May. But no accident incited the international uproar and Thai political reaction than the collision of two speedboats off Koh Larn in April.
In April, 20 South Korean tourists and guides were hurt – two critically – when two speedboats collided off Koh Larn, setting off a firestorm that spawned proposed regulations, establishment of new offices and meetings like the one Sanit called. To date, none of those proposals have been completed. Instead, the meetings – and accidents – continue.
“This meeting is to inform the members of the regulations so operators all follow the same rules,” Sanit said. “In the future, the club will focus on making it mandatory for boat drivers to pass initial training, whether it is first-aid, putting out fires, and possessing driving and engine-technician licenses.”
He said members also were asked to install rescue equipment, life vests and fire extinguishers.