ABU DHABI // Al Raha beach residents claim they are harassed on a daily basis by unruly jet-skiers who are ruining the peace of the neighbourhood.
Four jet-skiers raced through the Al Muneera water channel, splashing water close to the private beaches of Al Muneera and Al Zeina.
Resident Elizabeth Smith said complaints appeared to have fallen on deaf ears.
“The coastguard is doing nothing and, in fact, rarely comes out when called. They ask for the registration numbers on the jet skis but they have had them time and time again,” she said.
“My husband and I were on the beach last weekend, near sunset, and they absolutely terrorised the swimmers, coming right up to the swim line and splashing, so people got out of the water,” the Briton said.
“We have recently bought a kayak and that has re-enforced just how restricted we are in the place we live. We can only go out at certain times of day. My husband can’t use it when he’s finished work, as that’s the time they [jet-skiers] are here. They think it’s fun to frighten people,” Ms Smith said.
The use of jet skis is prohibited on several stretches of water, including the Al Raha beach area, Al Maqta opposite Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi Corniche, Al Bateen area and North Saadiyat Island.
The Department of Transport’s rules state that personal watercraft can be operated “not less than 500 feet from the beach”.
Irish resident Sandra Connor said: “Jet-skiers come too close to the [guide] rope and they can’t see if anybody is swimming under water. I have seen them talking to swimmers inside the rope.”
She said it is the noise from the jet skis that troubles residents the most.
“When they come [in groups of] four to five together the noise is horrendous,” Ms Connor said.
“I stopped complaining to the coastguard and I know some people complained to them but nothing has changed,” she said.
Another resident of Al Raha neighbourhood, E J, said: “The speed at which they go through that canal is still very dangerous for other users such as kayakers, paddle boarders, and I have even seen jet skis run too close to a couple kayaking with a very small child.
“It’s just a basic disrespect for other users,” E J said.
A German resident of Al Muneera, who did not wish to be named, who was at the beach with his family, said: “Now, it has become a daily routine for unruly jet-skiers to harass residents of Al Muneera, Al Zeina and Al Bandar.
“The noisy jet skis in the area are annoying. We have complained to the coastguard but they entirely turned a blind eye on the situation. We pay huge rents to enjoy the facilities here but because of these jet ski riders we remain cautious all the time,” the German said, who had accompanied his daughter to the beach.
“Look at them. We can’t leave the family alone here,” he complained.
The Department of Transport did not reply to questions on the matter.