Venice is known in part for the gondolas sailing through the city’s canals and lagoon, but the operators of the boats are saying they have been forced to cut capacity due to the weight of their passengers.
According to The Guardian, the Venetian gondoliers announced they have reduced passenger seating from six to five on the smaller gondola da nolo and from 14 to 12 on the larger gondola da parade, which is often used to sail the Grand Canal.
Officials said overweight passengers could cause the small vessels to take on water, making the possibility of sinking “dangerous” for both the passengers and the boatmen.
“It’s true that compared to 10 or 15 years ago, tourists weigh a bit more Venice’s gondoliers association president Andrea Balbi told The Guardian. “Unlike in a lift, where there’s a message that says only six people or a maximum weight, we don’t have scales to weigh people, and so we reduced the number of passengers.”
“Tourists are now overweight, and those arriving from certain countries are bombs,” Balbi continued.
Venice also announced a new policy allowing the children of the city’s gondoliers to take over their parent’s licenses without going through the traditional intake process. The boatmen still need to have at least four years of experience before being accredited.
Earlier this year, Venice started using signals off the mobile phones of people passing through the city to gain insight into visitor volume in certain densely packed areas.
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