Minister Dempsey publishes first-ever Guidelines for Accessible Maritime Passenger Transport
Travelling by boat, ship or car ferry can be greatly enhanced for passengers, by new Guidelines from the Department of Transport and the National Disability Authority (NDA) which were published today. These Guidelines, (the first of their kind in Ireland), are aimed at making maritime passenger travel more accessible and usable for everyone, irrespective of whether you are a person with a disability, you’re travelling with children/ luggage or you simply find it difficult using steps.
Providing practical advice and information for those involved in the provision of maritime passenger transport services, the Guidelines cover all aspects of a maritime passenger journey. For example;
- Advice on providing accessibility information for planning the journey,
- Improvements to shore side facilities in ports, harbours and piers
- Improving access on board vessels
- Disability awareness training for staff
- Emergency planning and
- Improving customer relations for mobility impaired passengers.
Speaking today, Minister Dempsey said: “The Government actively supports and encourages continued improvements in accessibile maritime passenger transport services because it will open up and enhance the sustainability of this key sector. Not alone have we published these Guidelines, but we have recently provided access audits for domestic passenger vessels and disability awareness training courses for operators and their crew throughout the country. We hope that our efforts, (in particular, these Guidelines), will influence those involved in the maritime passenger transport industry to review passenger services and undertake practical improvements to increase accessibility.”
Siobhan Barron, Director of the NDA, added “Transport is key to enabling people with disabilities and older people to participate in the normal activities of life. Making maritime transport accessible, benefits everyone. Accessible maritime transport is also good news for business; it benefits our tourism industry, it’s vital for people living on or visiting our offshore islands and it provides a link to our international neighbours.”
The Guidelines and a useful card, entitled “10 Tips for Better Access” are aimed at all passenger vessel owners and operators. They are also aimed at port operators, local authorities and a number of Government Departments who have a statutory remit regarding maritime passenger transport services. It is also a useful resource for the disability sector and other interested parties.
The NDA (National Disability Authority) is the lead state agency on disability issues and universal design in Ireland. They provide independent, expert advice to the Government on disability policy and practice.
The Guidelines launched are a joint venture between the Department of Transport and the NDA and fulfil one of the recommendations of the Maritime Passenger Transport Forum. The Forum was established in 2006 to oversee the implementation and review of the Maritime Passenger Transport section of the Department of Transport’s Sectoral Plan under the Disability Act 2005. The Forum comprises representatives of disability organisations, passenger ship and port services providers, relevant Departments and the National Disability Authority (NDA).
The leaflet “10 Tips for Better Access” and the “Guidelines for Accessible Maritime Passenger Transport” are available to view or download on the Department of Transport website and the NDA website.
Copies of the Guidelines or leaflet may be obtained from the Maritime Safety Policy Division, Department of Transport, Leeson Lane, Dublin 2. Phone: 01-6783434/20 or email SP2@transport. ie