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Opinion: Jet-skis: a hazard for everyone

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: This letter goes out to Lt Col Chatchai Sakdee of the Phuket Marine Police.

Dear Col Chatchai:

My wife and I have been visiting Thailand on our yacht on and off now for the last four years and generally love it.

There is one matter, though, that I would like to draw to your attention: jet-ski hazards to anchored vessels, tenders and swimmers. The following has prompted me to finally write to you as I’ve heard you are a man of action with a high regard for safety.

We are presently anchored at Patong, and this afternoon a jet-ski managed to splash salt water over our 44-foot sail boat, down our hatches, through our windows and across our cockpit – while we were eating.

In the past, we have had near-miss accidents with jet-skis while swimming close to our anchored vessel and traveling to and from land in our tender. We have been sailing on our yacht for many years and have visited 50 countries, many of which have enacted safety policies directed toward jet-ski operations.

The best say something like: “It is unlawful to operate a vessel traveling faster than six knots within 100 meters of a moored vessel or a vessel at anchor.”

This is simple to understand, logical and enforceable, and takes care of all vessels, not just jet-skis. Many times we’ve had our morning coffee spilled by high-speed tour boats zooming close by, especially at Ao Chalong.

Various countries have different punishments for violations. Most seem to have an escalating system of fines, ending in confiscation of the offending vessel to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Another safety item specific to jet-skis that some countries have implemented is the elimination of the “rooster tail”. This is the stream of water that shoots upward from the rear of the jet-ski while in motion. It creates a hazard to anyone following or crossing behind the jet-ski, as it can blind them. It serves no purpose, and the operator doesn’t even realize it’s there.

It also detracts from the jet-ski’s performance as power is wasted in the jet stream to form this “rooster tail”. Not to mention, it increases fuel consumption a little bit. It is easy to disconnect or block the hose from the jet drive to the rear deck fitting with no harm to the jet-ski.

I urge you to consider this ban as other countries have done.

Best regards,
Chris Zingler

— Chris Zingler

 

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

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