x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Jet ski rules to be tightened following fatal accident

Marine authorities say they will step up enforcement of regulations on jet skis and other water sports in the wake of the fatal accident.

DUBAI // The emirate is to step up its enforcement of jet-ski regulations following the death of a 17-year-old boy.

Amer Ali, the chief executive of Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) said yesterday that anyone now found violating the regulations would have their craft confiscated and their registration suspended.

Jet-skiers are required by law to wear life jackets and be over 14 years of age, though these requirements have not always been strictly enforced.

Additionally, jet-skiing is allowed only during the day and in one area only: the Umm Suqeim fishing harbour on Jumeirah Road near Umm Suqeim One.

Although the area was established last year, many jet-skiers have continued to ride near other Dubai beaches.

Mr Ali said that DMCA inspectors would be working alongside officers from the Dubai Ports Police to help enforce the laws.

Abdullah al Amiri was killed on Saturday when he fell off a raft being towed by one jet ski and was hit by another craft driven by a teenage friend.

His friends said yesterday the events of that day had been seared into their minds.

Saeed bin Harib and other friends of Abdullah have met every afternoon since the incident to reflect on their mistakes and remember the good times they spent together.

"It's not normal any more, and it's tough, but we have learnt our lesson that while having fun we also need to take all safety measures. We should have been wearing life jackets that day," said Ibrahim Mohammed, a classmate. "His cheerful face will be terribly missed."

Abdullah joined Al Ittihad Private School in Dubai four years ago. He was in Grade 12 and would have graduated next month. All activities leading up to the ceremony will be in his memory, his friends said.

"We will be giving lectures to the younger students at the school on how to be safe, and wear life jackets so that they do not make the same mistake," Saeed said. "We have also started a charity drive and with the amount raised we will be renovating the mosque at school."

He added that he had fond memories of one of Abdullah's favourite sayings: "I will change the next generation."

The DMCA, meanwhile, said anyone using jet skis should be aware of the sport's general hazards.

"Jet skis do not have brakes, and riders have to slow the engine approximately 100 metres from their final stopping point," said Mr Ali. "Also, riders have to be skillful enough to avoid obstacles, and here is where injuries and deaths occur."

Last year the DMCA issued 88 jet-ski permits and registrations.

Registration information and jet ski regulations may be found at www.dmca.ae/en/en-us/jet.skis.aspx.

amustafa@thenational.ae

* With additional reporting from Afshan Ahmed