x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Increase in jet skiers prompts free life jackets offer

The initiative is aimed at encouraging safety among water sport enthusiasts.

A man riding a Jet Ski at Al Mamzar area in Dubai. Pawan Singh/The National
A man riding a Jet Ski at Al Mamzar area in Dubai. Pawan Singh/The National

DUBAI // Registered jet ski owners are being offered a free life jacket from the Dubai Maritime City Authority as part of a safety campaign.

Mohammed Al Bastaki, director of Maritime Operations at the authority (DMCA), said there was an increase in the number of jet skis off Dubai's beaches.

"Offering free life jackets with every registered jet ski is one way of encouraging water sport enthusiasts to comply with the highest standards of security and personal safety," Mr Al Bastaki said. "Wearing a life jacket prevents drowning in case of accidents in the water."

The authority said it would step up its enforcement of jet ski regulations after a 17-year-old died near Le Meridien Mina Seyahi last year. He was not wearing a life jacket at the time.

By law, jet skiers must be over 14 and wear a life jacket.

The announcement came on the sidelines of Dubai Maritime Week 2012. The DMCA is working to create regulations and legislation on water sports.

The regulations will identify specific zones in the emirate for jet skiing away from public swimming areas.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) earmarked a jet ski zone next to the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club in 2009. The RTA also registers jet skis.

"It was a timely initiative as Dubai has witnessed an unprecedented number of jet ski and other water sport events on its waters in the past summer, which underlines the importance of DMCA's mission to create a secure and ideal maritime environment for all water activities," Mr Al Bastaki said.

"We are committed to work hard and cooperate with other government authorities in Dubai to find suitable ways to maintain maritime safety and implement best international practices, particularly in various water sports activities such as jet skiing."

eharnan@thenational.ae