Ways needed to tackle bad behaviour by jet-skiers

It’s important the parade continues – but safely

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We have no doubt that there are many people with jet-skis who are extremely responsible when they go out on the water. But, sadly, there is a minority who are not.

Today we report concerns at Lee-on-the-Solent about how some jet-skiers act recklessly and intimidate others, both at sea and on the slipway at the former Daedalus airfield. Those fears are backed up by a photograph that appears to show jet-skiers surrounding a yacht.

The problem, as it has always been with jet-skis in the wrong hands, is one of regulation. Yes, there are rules about how they are supposed to launch and speed limits exist in certain areas. But how can these be properly policed?

It is all very well having rules, but they are meaningless if they are not enforced when people transgress.

Councillor Graham Burgess, the Hampshire county councillor for Lee, says he has met Hampshire Constabulary’s marine unit, the Ministry of Defence’s marine policing unit and the Queen’s Harbour Master to discuss the issue of jet-skiers.

It would be great to think that regular patrols could be established to deter those behaving inconsiderately or, worse, dangerously.

But it all comes down to resources. In today’s economic climate, with cutbacks the norm, is it realistic to expect manpower and boats to be deployed to ensure jet-skiers abide by the rules?

Even if it was, would marine patrols be able to apprehend those causing trouble? As jet-skis develop, they get bigger and faster.

And then there’s the issue of identification. When we drive in this country, we must have registration plates affixed to our vehicles.

Should jet-skis be subject to the same system so that those who don’t behave properly and cause problems for other sea users can be fined or, ultimately, banned?

There is no easy solution. But we think it is definitely worth looking at how irresponsible jet-skiers are deterred.

Because otherwise they will just continue to be a nuisance and a potential danger.