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Boat owners "should have license"

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12:55 CET+01:00
Sweden will introduce a boat register and 'boat driving licenses' from next year, infrastructure minister Ulrica Messing announced on Tuesday.

The question of whether to force owners of leisure craft to have licenses has been debated for several years. Sweden's parliament has set an aim to halve the number of boat accidents by 2007.

The ruling Social Democrats now say that they will seek agreement with their allies in the Green and Left parties about the type of boat to be covered by the new rules.

Messing argued that only "larger boats" should need to be registered. Owners will have to pay an administration fee, the size of which is not yet decided, she said.

"A boat register is an important way for us to clear up crimes that are committed. Ninety percent of car crimes are solved thanks to registration, which means you can trace the vehicle. The corresponding figure for boats is under 25 percent," Messing commented.

Driving licenses will be needed for motor boats with an engine over a certain size, according to the government proposals, although the precise details have not yet been worked out.

"I have nothing against big, fast boats, but I want people to be trained to handle them safely," Messing said.

If the new rules are passed, they will be introduced in January.

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TT/The Local

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