Connect with us


OPINION: Let computers deal with Phuket’s jet-skis

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Wouldn’t it be better if Phuket’s government were turned over to computers? Surely an application exists whereby, having keyed in the facts, viable results emerge.

As it is, local government tends to tip-toe around decision-making until matters are manifestly out-of-hand.

Let’s take as a case in point the current eruption involving jet-skis precipitated by a YouTube video-clip showing a group of Royal Marines held at gun-point and forced to cough-up 44,000 baht “for repairs”. The fiasco has disgraced Phuket, spawned an international incident, and caused much hand-wringing among local and central government officials.

As it happens, there’s more than one such clip, and the contretemps comes after complaints from many governments around the world about similar behavior victimizing their nationals on holiday here. Numerous individual tourists have also written in the most strident of terms about the predatory methods of Phuket’s lovable jet-ski vendors.

Couldn’t it all have been predicted?

The jet-ski issue stretches back 20 years and is not peculiar to Phuket; similar stories abound wherever jet-skis operators rule the beaches in Thailand. The government’s reaction here at first was to ban them: as Thai law has no provisions for such vessels, that should have been easy. But police objected on the grounds that it would be damaging to the rice bowls of local people otherwise unable to participate in the then booming tourist-driven local economy.

So officials tackled the issue initially through procrastination; then, following several tourist injuries and deaths, through regulation. The formerly amorphous jet-ski vendors were compelled to form an association, so government could deal with a body instead of individuals. Then, their vessels had to be registered, and operational zones were delimited.

After a few more spectacular accidents, jet-ski boys were ordered to act as chauffeurs – leading to charges of rape-at-sea from Japanese women. In response, jet-skis were “banned” – Thai style, meaning that the ban would not come into effect for seven years. Meanwhile, the number of jet-skis was limited to 267 and no replacements were allowed.

But, the ban was extended, of course, and finally lapsed, and replacements were allowed after the 2004 tsunami.

Isn’t it time to face the facts?

Regulation has failed completely because the business model is flawed: a jet-ski vendor’s office is the beach; his company is a crew of freebooters; their bonuses are bottles of Saeng-Som. No reputable company, hotel, resort or tour agency has ever taken on jet-ski rentals. What can be done?

Banish them to an off-shore island and turn over the rental concessions to a single company? Perhaps. But better yet, why not turn the decision over to a computer? The ever-present ‘dark influences’ would be stripped out of the equation and objectivity would be assured.

Our track record as humans dealing with the jet-ski issue over the past two decades has not been good enough. What’s needed now is genuine and demonstrable change.

— Marque Rome


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Weather1 hour ago

Flood warnings below of Chao Phraya Dam, across Thailand

Thailand3 hours ago

US calls meeting with Thai officials to resolve donated vaccines

Thailand4 hours ago

10 Burmese migrant workers arrested in Songkhla

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand4 hours ago

Over 50 million vaccine doses administered in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

Sunday Covid-19 Afternoon Update: Provincial Totals

World5 hours ago

China announces cryptocurrency trading is illegal

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
North East5 hours ago

Stolen 72 year old elephant returned to owner after 18 years

Thailand6 hours ago

Pattaya readjusts tourism goals for high season

Thailand7 hours ago

Phuket relaxes checkpoint requirements to help tourists and health officials

Phuket7 hours ago

Phuket Covid-19: 2 deaths, 4 Sandbox infections, 10k total cases

Thailand8 hours ago

Facebook page that claims to sell dog meat met with scorn on social media

Thailand10 hours ago

Thailand welcomes its first AI influencer, “AI Ailynn”

Thailand10 hours ago

Umbrellas out, more monsoonal rain in the wake of ‘Dianmu’

Thailand11 hours ago

Sunday Covid update: 125 deaths and 12,353 new cases

Thailand20 hours ago

Record-breaking 1 million Covid-19 vaccines given yesterday

Thailand2 weeks ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11