Connect with us


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



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

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:

Crime3 hours ago

Angry woman sets fire to her boyfriend’s Pattaya room

Thailand4 hours ago

Explore Thailand’s least visited city in the South!

Pattaya5 hours ago

Newborn baby found in Pattaya trash can

Sponsored2 days ago

Where you can get cannabis in Bangkok

Crime5 hours ago

Poll examines sexual violence causes, definitions

Drugs5 hours ago

Four members of drug gang arrested in Nakhon Si Thammarat

North East6 hours ago

Military mum calls for justice over slain son

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Tourism6 hours ago

Why aren’t tourists returning to Khao San Road?

Crime6 hours ago

A burglar, in a hole, in the roof, in the night

Drugs7 hours ago

Drug policy outlines by PM, cash rewards to police in busts

World Cup8 hours ago

World Cup to be shown in Thai prison

Economy8 hours ago

UK exports to Japan slump after ‘landmark’ free trade deal

Thailand9 hours ago

Try These Weird Thai Foods… If You Dare

World1 day ago

Thai gangs traffic Kenyans to Myanmar scam factories

South1 day ago

Deep South emergency decree extended 3 months

Thailand1 day ago

Why Is Thailand So Cheap?

Thailand1 year ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

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

Phuket2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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