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Governor Nisit Jansomwong has vowed to revoke the operating license of any jet-ski owner whose machine is found sitting on the sand on any beach in Phuket, along with the boat operator licenses of any staff.
This morning (December 11) he said, “Following the announcement signed by me about jet-ski zoning in Patong, which provides separate areas for swim and water sports activities there have so far been no reports of accidents, the Governor noted.
Phuket Marine Office chief Phuriphat Teerakulpisut added, “We have already set up zoning for jet-ski [and speedboat for sport activities] at Patong Beach and are in the process of doing the same at Kata, Karon and Naka Island. Other beaches will follow.
“Jet-skis and boats for sport activities are not allow to move from one beach to another,” he added.
Governor Nisit warned further, “Operators of jet-skis or boats may not use vehicles to tow them along the beach. Anyone breaking this regulation may have their license revoked, by Marine Department officers or the police.”
He did however, say that tourists do not need licenses to ride jet-skis which, technically, is required by law.
“A driving license [for a jet ski] is not necessary for tourists because they just come to Phuket for a week or so, and ride jet-skis maybe only two or three days,” he confirmed.
Gov Nisit also made public a list of 13 rules governing jet-skis and sports boats. These are:
All boats must have license and still valid.
First class insurance must be bought.
Rental contracts must be in four languages; Thai, English, Russian and Chinese.
Price must be shown and must be the same for all.
Tourists must be trained before being allowed to ride a jet-ski.
Life jackets must be worn at all times.
The power of jet-ski engines must not exceed 130hp.
All jet-skis and boats must have a Marine Office sticker at the bow and trailers may be parked only in designated areas.
Jet-skis and boats may not be refuelled in the water or on the beach.
Boat owners or staff look after boats or machines must have the appropriate licenses and certificates.
Tourists must not ride jet ski or boats outside the designated area of sea.
Boat crews must not drink alcohol or take drugs while controlling machine.
When any accident happens, the designated officer for the area must be informed.
Mr Phuripat explained later that this last rule was aimed at preventing “private negotiations” over minor damage to jet-skis.
Patong and Pattaya are notorious for scamming by jet-ski operators or staff who extort large amounts of money from tourists for scratching their machines – scratches that already existed from previously.
It is difficult to see just how this rule will be enforced, since it is not in the interests of dishonest jet-ski operators to report scratches or to introduce a “referee” into the negotiations.
Gov Nisit said he welcomed any suggestions for improvements to the 13 rules.
“If anyone has any suggestions on ways we can be more strict, or how we can fix any of the rules, these would be very welcome – this will improve marine regulations, especially for jet-skis on Phuket’s beaches.”