Sitting until the early hours of the morning, the government has just sneaked through a new law called: 'The Affordable Boat Act' declaring that every individual or family unit MUST purchase a new boat once they reach a certain level of combined income. These 'affordable' boats will cost an average of $54,000-$155,000 each, dependent on income, and will provide a much-needed boost to the economy, according a statement from the Finance Ministry this week. This does not include taxes, trailers, towing fees, licensing and registration fees, fuel, docking and storage fees, maintenance or repair costs.
This law has been passed, because until now, typically only wealthy and financially responsible people have been able to purchase boats. This new law ensures that every citizen can now have a 'affordable' boat of their own, because everyone is entitled to a new boat. The law is scheduled come into force by the beginning of the new financial year, but if you purchase your boat before the end of the year, ie. by June 30, you will receive 4 free life jackets, not including monthly usage fees.
In order to make sure that the boats purchased are affordable, the costs of owning a boat will increase on average of of between 8% and 40% per year, dependent on the initial price of the boat, itself dependent on individual or combined family income.
This way, wealthy people will pay more for something that other people don’t want or can’t afford to maintain. 'But to be fair,' government spokesperson Melody Welch said, 'people who can’t afford to maintain their boat will be fined, with penalties for non-payment.'
In recognition of the special needs of youth in the workforce, individuals under the age of 26 are exempt from the new law, but can use their parents boats to party on until they turn 27. Then they must purchase their own boat.
If you already have a boat, you can keep yours for the first twelve months after the Affordable Boat Act becomes law. After that you will be required to comply with the legislation and acquire a boat commensurate with your individual or combined family income.
'If individuals claim that they don’t want or don’t need a boat, they are required to buy one anyway, as this will be an excellent stimulus to the economy,' added Welch. 'If you refuse to buy one or can’t afford one, you will be regularly fined until you purchase one, or face imprisonment. Fines will be set according to income. For instance someone earning $150,000 will be fined $800 per quarter.
'Failure to use the boat will also result in fines. People living in the desert, ghettos, inner cities or areas with no access to lakes are not exempt. Age, motion sickness, experience, knowledge, nor lack of desire are acceptable excuses for not using your boat.'
A government review board is to be set up to administer the law. To make sure that maximum use is made of boats, the administration will include regulating such things as when, where, how often and for what purposes you can use your boat along with how many people can ride your boat, and determine if one is too old or healthy enough to be able to use their boat.
They will also decide if your boat has outlived its usefulness, or if you must purchase specific accessories (like a compass, GPS or EPIRB, which are all to be priced at under $1,000) , or a newer and more expensive boat. Those who can afford sailing yachts will be required to do so.
Individuals and family units may decide the name of the boat, but this must be approved by the review board. Failure to comply with these rules will result in fines and possible imprisonment.
Government officials are exempt from this new law. If they want a boat, they and their families can obtain boats free, at the expense of taxpayers.
Officials of Unions, bankers and mega-companies with large political affiliations are also exempt. Sail-World is indebted to certain sources within the government for keeping track of earlier versions of this Act, (the HullTruth and others) and leaking the final version, printed above.