Jet skis still a hazard

Jet skis, fun for riders, can be a danger and a nuisance for others. Abu Dhabi is still waiting for much-needed regulations on them – and for firm enforcement

Jet skiing in the open waters of Abu Dhabi can be exhilarating - for the guy sitting on the engine at least. But for those swimming in the water or sunbathing by the shore, it is both a nuisance and a hazard.

In Dubai, drastic measures were put in place after repeated accidents resulted from reckless riders and a lack of safety awareness. For more than two years there has been a ban on jet skis in all but one designated area near Umm Suqeim Fishing Harbour. Also, only licensed jet ski owners are allowed to ride.

And yet, just two months ago, a 14-year-old boy was found dead in the water off the Palm Jumeirah, after being missing for 38 hours. His friend had hit the boy's head while riding on a jet ski. Despite strict regulations, jet skis are still a danger.

But in Abu Dhabi, there still are no such regulations to enforce in the first place. The government announced over a year ago that they would be implementing stricter regulations and is working on drawing up a new code.

Accidents and public disturbances can be limited if regulations are put in place and enforced by the authorities. Wearing a life jacket (regardless of age), designating prohibited areas, enforcing speed limits and age limits are all simple enough rules.

If jet skiers are a threat to public safety, it's time to take away the keys.

Published: August 1, 2011 04:00 AM