It has become a lot busier in recent years on the Amsterdam canals. More and more people have a boat, but many do not know the sailing rules. And that can lead to dangerous situations, according to Rijkswaterstaat.

    As soon as the sun starts to shine, the ball is on the canals. Canal boats, motor sloops, canoes and supboards glide and sail crisscrossing each other. And then there is an accident in a small corner. Skipper Leo experienced it two weeks ago. He carried an illustrious company AT5employees at a staff party when he was rammed by a motorboat on the canals. “A boat is coming at 15 kilometers per hour and it sails right out of my window.”

    ‘Madhouse’

    No one was hurt, but Leo is still shaking. He sees that it is getting busier and more dangerous on the water. “It really is a madhouse. There are so many – I can’t really say it, but I’ll say it anyway – morons on the canals. Who don’t know what they are doing at all.”

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    Research by Waterrecreatie Nederland shows that the number of recreational craft has increased significantly since corona. Rijkswaterstaat also sees this, which has its hands full with enforcing the navigation rules. Because many people don’t know those rules at all.

    According to mobile traffic controller Boudewijn Hardus, this can lead to dangerous situations, especially on the IJ, because of commercial shipping. “People who sail in the wrong place on the waterway. Yes, we will certainly encounter that.” It usually goes well, but there are regular near misses.

    Always keep right

    That is why, according to Boudewijn, it is important that everyone knows a number of important sailing rules. “You have to keep to the right side of the fairway. So don’t sail in the middle. With a large ship you have to take into account a blind spot. The rule of thumb is that if you can see the skipper in the wheelhouse, he can also see you Always pass from behind to avoid dangerous situations.”

    According to Boudewijn, there are also plenty of experienced skippers on the water, with or without a license. Whether such a paper should be mandatory? “That’s not up to me. What I think is important is that people know the sailing rules. A boating license can help with that, yes.”

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