x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Dubai has plan for safer jet skis

The new body that oversees jet skiing in the emirate is urging all owners to register and insure their vehicles in a bid to improve safety and regulation of the sport.

The Dubai Maritime City Authority says
The Dubai Maritime City Authority says "it is a legal requirement to register every jet ski which may operate or moor" in the area.

DUBAI // The new body that oversees jet skiing in the emirate is urging all owners to register and insure their vehicles in a bid to improve safety and regulation of the sport. The Dubai Maritime City Authority assumes responsibility for the licensing, registration and regulation of jet skis on August 8, a role previously held by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority.

While the marine authority had no immediate plans to overhaul the sport, it did hope to end confusion about the legalities of owning and operating a jet ski. "It is a legal requirement to register every jet ski which may operate or moor in the territorial and inland waterways of Dubai," DMCA said. "This helps to ensure that the jet skis are adequately equipped with the appropriate equipment, such as life-saving appliances. It also helps to ensure that jet skis are safe to operate and any defects are rectified in a timely and efficient manner."

Many jet ski owners operate unregistered vehicles, some unaware that it is a legal requirement. Camilla Hajek, a 28-year-old jet-skier originally from the UK, welcomed any clarification of the rules. "No one knows what is being tolerated, what is illegal, and no one understands the regulations," she said. "I have seen some people jet skiing off the Dubai coast, but I'm wondering how they get there. It would be great if there were some clarification."

Those unsure about the legalities of where they can jet ski often choose to travel to other emirates to ski in open waters where legislation does not yet exist. However, that can come at a price, as Nargis Tajdin's 17-year-old son Jamal discovered last weekend when he was involved in a jet ski accident in Sharjah. He was lucky to escape the accident with nothing more than a Dh3,500 fine for damage to the vehicle, which was not insured by the rental company.

His friend was less fortunate. Yesterday, he remained in hospital recovering from a broken leg he suffered in a separate accident the same afternoon. "This was the first time my son had been on a jet ski," Mrs Tajdin said. "He lost control. It could have been much worse. He could have lost his life." Mrs Tajdin welcomed Dubai's efforts to regulate the sport, as did Mahmoud Sahyouni, the owner of an Abu Dhabi-based jet ski rental company, who was hoping similar registration and insurance practices would soon be introduced to the capital.

Mr Sahyouni said at present customers were required to sign a disclaimer accepting full responsibility for personal injuries sustained and damage to the jet ski. But he said he had been in talks with the Municipality and the Chamber of Commerce recently about plans to tighten up the industry, including the introduction of training, licensing and insurance. loatway@thenational.ae