The Tourism Bureau said yesterday it would provide a subsidy of up to NT$7.1 million (US$243,000) for boat operators on Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) to replace diesel-powered boats with ones powered by electricity as part of its effort to reduce the environmental impact.
The bureau said many of the diesel-powered boats currently on the lake could operate at up to 15 knots per hour, which exceeds speed limit of 10 knots set by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).
Waves generated by these boats operating at high speed would not only scour the slopes of the Mingtan Reservoir (明潭水庫) and increase the amount of silt in the lake, but they would also damage the docking facilities at the lake, the bureau added.
According to the bureau, it spends approximately NT$6 million repairing dock facilities.
The bureau said that electric boats generate less pollution and lower the impact on the lake.
Although the boats can only operate between six to eight knots per hour, the bureau said that it was an ideal speed for a lake tour.
The bureau said it was discussing with the MOEA jointly clamp down on speeding boats on the lake, adding that it launched a round of inspections at the lake yesterday in a bid to enhance safety.
Safety has come under scrutiny following two boating accidents in the Philippines and Vietnam earlier this month, leading to death of eight Taiwanese tourists.
Bureau director-general David Hsieh (謝謂君), in charge of the inspection at Sun Moon Lake yesterday, said even though the bureau is not the regulator of the reservoir and boats, it nevertheless coordinated with other administrative agencies in the joint inspection of the boats on the lake.
Hsieh said the government has launched 70 joint inspections since 2006, in which about 1,000 boats have been inspected.
The most commonly found problems included not having sufficient crew aboard, failure to renew insurance and inactive fire extinguishers.