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25 June, 2024
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Cyprus sailing clubs caught in legal tussle

Confusion and conflict as rules leave nautical community in choppy waters

Andreas Karamitas

The lack of legislation tailored to the needs of Nautical Clubs, essential for training and fostering nautical sports, is causing confusion and unfairness. Private companies offering water entertainment services and small yachts are exploiting this gap by reporting Famagusta Nautical Club (NOA) to the Port Authority, arguing it's not qualified to train sailors. Essentially, businesses far removed from water sports seek to profit from nautical clubs.

This conflict escalated when Port and Marine Police, responding to complaints, targeted a NOA instructor for training club members in boarding (SUP). Consequently, the instructor faces charges of "providing services on the beach without permission." The trial is ongoing, with the Limassol Police Director handling the indictment.

Seeking Solutions Amid Legal Quagmire

Efforts to address this issue date back to 2022 when NOA sought resolutions through meetings with relevant authorities. However, subsequent remarks and actions prompted further action, leading to letters sent to Germasogeia's mayor outlining the legal gaps. The Municipality of Germasogeia addressed the Beaches Committee, advocating legislative amendments to support NOA.

Challenges in Coastal Regulation and Maritime Culture

Navigating beach regulation, involving multiple agencies complicates matters. While the Coast Guard operates within existing laws, criticisms linger over its actions. Efforts to promote nautical sports, like the Sea Festival, contrast with complaints against club instructors. Law enforcement's focus on minor infractions detracts from addressing pressing maritime issues.

Proposed Changes and Best Practices

Addressing these challenges requires direct legislation by Parliament or government proposals. Issuing indefinite licenses to nautical sports instructors and exempting clubs from certain regulations offer interim solutions. Ultimately, definitive legislation tailored to nautical clubs and marine leisure tourism businesses is crucial.

Clarifying Misconceptions and Promoting Maritime Culture

Dispelling misconceptions about water entertainment businesses versus nautical clubs is crucial. Unlike the former, clubs boast technical expertise and international competition participation. They foster maritime culture and contribute to local economies and social cohesion.

Benefits of Watersport in CyprusCyprus' ideal climate and picturesque coastline make it a prime destination for water sports. Beyond individual benefits, like physical fitness, these activities boost tourism, create jobs, and promote environmental awareness. They foster social inclusion and contribute to a thriving economy and society. It's time to protect and nurture these invaluable assets before it's too late.

[This article was translated from its Greek original and edited for brevity and clarity]

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