Following today’s inquest the family of Emily Gardner issued the following statement:
“Emily was our everything, our first born, our perfect baby girl. Losing her from our lives was heartbreaking and we will miss her forever. When Emily died a life full of dreams and adventures was extinguished along with our hopes for our beautiful daughter.
“Life was full of excitement and thrills for Emily. She hated anything mundane and would even find novel ways of doing routine jobs like housework. She was always giggling and her laugh would last a whole day sometimes if she found something funny. Everywhere she went her smile shone out. She would stand tall and proud in anything she did.
“Emily lived life to the full, reveling in all the excitement and joy it could offer. We took so much pleasure from seeing her love of life and encouraged her, as many parents to do, to take advantage of every opportunity that came her way.
“We would go everywhere together but on this Bank Holiday weekend one year ago we allowed our beautiful daughter to be independent from us, experience something new, something that she was excited about. But if we had known that power boat drivers do not have to have a licence or training we would never have let her go and she would still be alive today.
“We need people to become aware of the absence of legislation to ensure the safety of passengers on leisure craft and will campaign for laws to be brought in to close this legal loophole. We can’t bring Emily back but we don’t want another family to have to endure what we have been through. As a result we will be calling for the introduction of Emily’s Law.”
Richard Langton, from Slater and Gordon who represent the Gardner family, said: “An ill-fitting buoyancy aid contributed to this tragedy. Evidence given at the inquest was that there is no legal requirement for passengers, even children, to wear a properly fitting life jacket or any life jacket at all.
“It is incomprehensible that the UK is one of few countries in Europe that does not require licences for people to drive speed boats. This needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency to increase safety standards across the industry. In addition, education for potential boat buyers that old vessels may not comply with safety regulations is seriously lacking.
“At present anyone can go out and buy, in ignorance, a death trap speed boat which doesn't comply with modern safety regulations. This ridiculous situation means that people who want to participate in an activity, which is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people, can place others’ lives in jeopardy.”