Thailand Implemented New Safety Rules for Scuba Diving Boats
Published: December 16, 2021 at 7:25 pm
Warawut Silpa-archa, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, has released new safety rules that prohibit big commercial scuba diving boats from getting too close to diving sites. The new rule would apply solely to national parks and require large boats to keep a safe distance of 100 to 200 meters from diving spots.
Before the new guideline was implemented, companies who offer scuba diving transport a large number of tourists on a big diving boat and then transfer them to the last 100 meters to the dive location on a smaller boat. According to Varawut, the engine and propeller from big boats gives risk to divers and are a nuisance to coral reefs and the species. He urged tourists to dive safely in Thailand under the new guidelines.
” I would like to notify you that all business operators will be advised, and we welcome visitors to go to Thailand during this New Year celebration to scuba dive and enjoy the beauty of the Thai sea. Please assist us in monitoring the behavior of company operators as well.”
The new safety guideline brings Thailand into compliance with International Maritime Organization guidelines that require all large boats to maintain a minimum distance of 50 meters from diving sites and divers in the water. The new guidelines would make diving in Thailand safer.
After scuba diving, divers rest near the surface for decompression. Therefore, big boats with large propellers cutting through the waves may pose danger if permitted to pass so close to diving spots. Some have argued that this new rule should cover speedboats for the same reasons.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment executes the guidelines and enforces the penalty via a three-strike system. The first offense will serve as an official warning and a THB5,000 penalty. The second offense will result in a THB20,000 penalty and a 30-day suspension of operator license. The third offense involves a more hefty penalty of THB100,000 and cancellation of operator license.