With interactive: Jet skis have been prohibited from waters adjacent to the Corniche and in the eastern mangroves in a bid to improve safety for swimmers and the general public.
Fresh rules ban jet skis from waters off Abu Dhabi Corniche
ABU DHABI // Jet skis have been banned from waters alongside the city's Corniche.
Other areas have also been declared out of bounds to the machines, according to a new water safety map published by the Department of Transport.
The map outlines zones across Abu Dhabi Island and beyond where powered vessels, such as boats, and powered water craft, such as jet skis, are prohibited. It also marks safe swimming zones, launch facilities and speed limits in some areas.
The map shows that all water between the Corniche and Lulu Island is off limits to jet skis, but remains accessible to boats. The no-jet-ski zone stretches the length of the Corniche, past Emirates Palace hotel and around to Nareel Island. A swimming zone has been created along most of the Corniche's shoreline.
Jet skis have also been banned alongside Al Bateen beach and between the two bridges at Al Maqta. Swimming zones have been created in both areas. An area of Al Raha is also off limits to jet skis, though no swimming zone has been created.
To the north of Saadiyat Island, a large area of water has been marked out of bounds to all powered vessels, and part of this area has been designated a swimming zone. Waters off the northernmost head of the island are marked as a prohibited area. On the eastern side of Saadiyat Island, powered vessels are limited to 10 knots, but jet skis are again banned.
Click on the map to open the interactive
The eastern mangroves off Salam Street are out of bounds to all powered vessels.
The Department of Transport was not available for comment on how it would enforce the zones.
A representative from the Abu Dhabi Municipality Beach department on the Corniche said he was not aware of any changes to the rules, but emphasised that the department's jurisdiction ends at the buoy line, 30 metres from the coast.
If a jet skier passes this line, the lifeguards and security on the Corniche can act, , or call the police if nuisance riders refuse to leave the area.
However, he welcomed further restrictions on jet skis as it improves the safety of swimmers and the general public.
Watersports enthusiasts also welcomed the restrictions.
"For us who use the water regularly it could be a massive step towards safety," said Taimeir Abdelrazek, acting chairman of the Emirates Kiteboarding Association.
"This could be one of the biggest steps in 10 years regarding jet skis in the emirate. I am really glad to see that Abu Dhabi has done something extremely positive for safety."
Tony Hajj, of X-Ventures, a water tours and excursions company, had not heard of the new restrictions.
"The Corniche has always had some restrictions for boats and jet skis, but it has not been official," he said. "But I would imagine now they are trying to be more strict."
"I don't know how this will work - will they provide jet skiers with a option for safe practice of the sport?"