Excursion boats, dinghies, rafts, paddleboards: in the coming months, the waters of Berlin will once again be full. The water police want to ensure safety in lakes and canals with greater controls.
“With April 1st, water sports enthusiasts take to the water. So we will be booming until October 31,” said Sabine Schumann of the water police. As a result of the corona pandemic and the restrictions associated with it, this has intensified and the dangers have continued to increase.
“Then we often have to deal with people who are not licensed and who are on the ships that do not require a license. As a rule, they have little idea of what is required of them as employers,” the spokeswoman said. If you rent a raft, you will receive a briefing. But this is usually brief and the guests on board are often drunk and in a big party mood. “That puts a lot of demands on captains.”
Others dare to get into the water with stand-up paddle boards (SUP) without much practice: “Many have no idea of the dangers of boats and what consequences suctions and waves can have if the board shakes,” he explained. Schumann. . Misjudgment of one’s own abilities, alcohol, heat – all this can lead to critical situations in the water.
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Other cases in which the police are required on the water: noise violations, dangerous races with jet skis or so-called motor boats, swimming in prohibited places, illegal waste disposal or drinking and driving. According to Schumann, the water police recorded 2,070 such cases in the 2021 season, more than double compared to the same period last year (937 cases).
“We are present 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” said Schumann. But given the different challenges, there are different approaches, seasonal and geographical.
For example, the Bundestag and the Chancellery are within the area of responsibility of the central water police with 40 kilometers of navigable water. The East zone takes care of more than half of the area with 90 kilometers, but it is more about leisure captains. The situation is similar in the western zone with 70 kilometers, where almost 430 pleasure boats were inspected last year alone (2020: 364).
15 boats belong to the water police fleet, which since last year includes a 200 hp speedboat. (dpa)