Phuket to ‘get tough’ on jet-skis

PHUKET: Phuket is to get tough on jet-ski operators again, it was decided yesterday at a meeting of officials from across the island. Chaired by vice-governor Amnuay Sanguannam, the meeting brought together officials from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), district offices, the Harbor Department, the Marine Police, the Tourist Police and other police. Representatives from the local jet-ski industry were also invited but failed to attend. The meeting heard statistics compiled by the Tourist Police that showed that one person was killed and four injured in four jet-ski accidents last year. Between 1995 and 1998, three people were killed and 39 injured, the report showed. Anupharp Thirarath, head of the local office of the TAT, told the meeting that he received many complaints about jet-skis. In a recent example, he said, a hotel manager complained that a jet-ski operator had tried to run over one of his gusts after an argument about the cost of repairing a jet-ski. Such incidents were bad for Phuket’s image, Anupharp added. The operation of jet-skis is controlled partly by the Public Health and Safety Act of 1992 and partly by the Navigation Act of 1913. The 1992 law bars operators from riding in swimming zones and requires anyone riding a machine to wear a life-vest. It also specifically states that jet-skis may be used solely for recreation – not for commerce. The 1913 Act requires all vessels to be registered with the Harbor Department, and for anyone operating a vessel to have an operator’s license. Under current policy, no new registrations for jet-skis are being accepted. The meeting heard that despite these restrictions the number of jet-ski businesses in Phuket has continued to boom. By February 1998, (more recent figures were not presented), there were about 250 machines operating around Phuket. Only 22 of them were registered. At the end of the meeting, Vice Governor Amnuay said, “We will have to really get tough on this. Too many of them are ignoring the law, and that is not what we want to see.” The meeting came a day after Phuket came under fire from the Jet Sports Boating Association of Thailand (TJSBA) for its refusal to host a major international jet-ski race.

Phuket News

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