Hong Kong's shrinking harbour and increasingly crowded waterways have been the subject of concern and anger for some years now. The seas surrounding the territory are among the busiest in the world, and, as reclamation reduces Victoria Harbour to the proportions of a wide river, the likelihood of a serious collision or similar accident has loomed ever-larger. Minor bumps and crashes are becoming a regular facet of life, but predictions of a 42 per cent increase in accidents within 15 years are very unnerving. The first of two incidents yesterday, in which three people had to be air-lifted to hospital and one woman lost part of her leg, is an indication of the very real dangers posed by increasing sea traffic all round the coastline. Last year the Marine Department logged 235,257 vessels, including virtually every type of craft upon the sea, in Hong Kong waters. A great many boats and ferries from China regularly ply between Hong Kong and the mainland, and as an international deep water port the territory receives shipping from every corner of the globe. There are obvious limits to how much control it is possible to impose on vessels from elsewhere. The Marine Department can keep a check on local boats, but 22 patrol vessels are not adequate to check all the users of these busy sea lanes. It is fortunate that the number of incidents is relatively small, against the volume of traffic that uses the waterways. Human error featured in all but a couple of the 248 accidents which occurred last year, some of which were compounded by adverse weather conditions. But congestion figured in 32 of the collisions, and that is the aspect which is guaranteed to increase as a threat in the vicinity of Victoria Harbour and the Central Ferry pier as the distance between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island grows narrower. No one can put a price on safety, but neither should the Government seek to recoup all the cost from the people who use the seas. Boat owners have to be prepared to pay fairly for measures which will protect them and should make for more efficient use of sea lanes, but some funding should be provided by the Government. Hong Kong earns large revenues from its port. Part of the profits ought to be ploughed back into making our waters safe.