The water city of Venice, Italy, has banned recreational boats during most of the day, according to Conde Nast Traveler. The ban, which includes main waterways such as the Grand Canal, Cannareggio Canal and other routes, is aimed at powerboats, as well as canoes, paddleboards and other non-motorized craft.
Recreational boats had been restricted during peak hours, but the new rules extend the ban for much of the day.
The ban comes after gondoliers, ferry operators and other commercial workers on Venice's waterways complained that kayakers and paddleboarders were making it difficult for them to navigate. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnano said that “kayaks and canoes that congest the waterways are dangerous,” and that he would “introduce orders” to get them out of the busier channels.
“Overtourism” in Venice has been a hot topic in recent years. Temporary restrictions have been placed on traveler access to major tourism sites after 22 million tourists visited the city last year. The city council placed a ban on cruise ships entering Giudecca Canal, home to St. Mark's Square. The new ban on boats appears to be part of that agenda.
A local kayaking outfitter said the restrictions would cut the number of kayaking tours in half, but she ceded that safety was more important. Only one death has been recorded on Venice’s canals. In 2013, a German tourist died after a ferry ran into the gondola he was riding in.