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Italy: Plan to Control Boat Traffic in Venice

(Aug. 29, 2013) On August 27, 2013, the city of Venice announced a plan to better control boat traffic in the city’s canals. Citing the need to increase safety following the August 17 death of a German tourist in a boating accident, city officials stated that several measures would be taken to control the traffic. (Nick Squires, Venice to Control Boat Traffic on Crowded Canals, THE TELEGRAPH (Aug. 27, 2013).) The measures include:

  • closing unauthorized docks and piers, which have been constructed on the banks of canals without permission, in order to make sure there is adequate room in the canals for boats to maneuver;
  • requiring water buses to have bow thrusters, which are propellers that make tight turns in narrow canals easier to accomplish;
  • restricting traffic in the canals of barges carrying commercial goods to the hours between 4 a.m. and mid-morning and imposing similar time restrictions on barges transporting household and commercial waste;
  • permitting tourist gondolas to operate only after barge traffic has finished each day; and
  • banning the use of mobile phones by anyone operating a boat, whether propelled by oars or a motor. (Id.)

In addition, the city is considering conducting random drug and alcohol tests for gondoliers and captains of ships. In the accident that resulted in the death of the German tourist, the gondolier did test positive for both hashish and cocaine; he is now facing manslaughter charges. (Id.)