x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Jet ski professionals voice concern over missing regulations

Jet ski owners and rental companies suggest rules they'd like to see put in place.

As authorities develop regulations for jet skis, riders and rental companies outlined some laws they would like to see added to the books.

"In Dubai, there have been a large number of accidents because people weren't safe," said David Cordhero, of Al Wasl Cruising and Fishing, which rents jet skis in Sharjah. "If regulations were in place, and people were required to wear a life jacket, it might be different."

Sherine Awwad, of the jet ski rental company Sea Tourism in Abu Dhabi, said designating areas for watercraft should be a priority.

"They should put a barricade in the water so that jet skiers can't cross the line and get too close to the beach, where they have kids and families," Mr Awwad said.

On the Corniche, buoys mark areas for swimmers, wakeboarders and kayakers, and jet skis are not allowed within those areas.

But some jet skiers said defining specific districts for jet skiing, similar to Dubai, may be harmful. "It's just crowded when you have people of many different levels or riding in a small space," said Mohammed Matouk, a jet skier. "It is very dangerous, especially with these people who are acting crazy and doing tricks."

The Government is expected to soon release rules on speed limits, safety equipment and licensing requirements.

Empros, a water sport company in the capital, is completing a jet ski safety study and plans to host a "Safe Jet Skiing" charity event to raise awareness of water safety issues. "This is all for the purpose of reducing accidents," said Dina Gad, the development and marketing manager for Empros.

Regulations are under development and are expected to be in place by the end of the year.

* Jen Thomas and Euna Park