Some gondoliers in Venice have claimed that “overweight” tourists are creating a boatload of trouble, forcing them to cut passenger capacity for safety’s sake.
In a policy change recently announced, Venetian boatmen will have to reduce passenger seating from six to five on the smaller gondola da nolo, which carry out classic tours of the Italian city, Fox News reports.
Accommodations on the larger gondola da parade, often used to sail the Grand Canal, have also been cut from 14 to 12.
“It’s true that compared to 10 or 15 years ago, tourists weigh a bit more,” Andrea Balbi, president of Venice’s gondoliers association, 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.”
If there is too much weight on the gondola, water will flood the vessel and sinking is “dangerous,” Raoul Roveratto, president of the association of substitute gondoliers, explained.
“From some countries, it’s like bombs loading on and when (the boat) is fully loaded, the hull sinks and water enters,” he told Italy’s La Repubblica, according to a CNN translation.
“Going forward with over half a ton of meat on board is dangerous.”
In related nautical news, another policy was recently passed to allow the children of the city’s gondoliers to take over their parent’s licenses without taking a challenging theory exam on history and foreign languages, The Guardian reported.
Now, rookie gondoliers must prove they can row the boat and have at least four years of experience operating their family’s gondola.
Though anyone can apply for the job, the seafaring trade is mostly kept insular within the Floating City’s gondolier families.
“It is about continuing a tradition. Who better than a gondolier can know the trade of a gondolier?” Mr Balbi said of the family ties. “It would be like a pizza maker who isn’t from Naples.”
It isn’t the first time overweight tourists have sparked a major rule change.
In 2018, Greece passed a law restricting people weighing more than 100kg from riding on donkeys in Santorini, in a move to protect the animals on the holiday island.
This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission