Jet skis have been banned from entering the Palm Jumeirah with immediate effect after residents complained about high-speed races near swimming zones.
An announcement was posted by Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) on August 2 to end months of nuisance riding of jet skis near family beaches and designated water sport areas.
“Jet skis shall not enter the areas and offenders will be strictly penalised.
“Owners, agents, charters, marinas, yacht club and recreational sailing organisations shall ensure that the details of this circular are made known to the owners or persons in charge of their vessels.”
The announcement was met with relief from residents of Shoreline apartments, many of whom had campaigned for several months to enforce a 4-knot speed limit, about 9 kilometres per hour, on the island’s waterways.
“This is a phenomenal result we are incredibly happy with,” said Alex Golden, a resident of The Palm.
“I did not think the authorities would respond this fiercely.
“This is a win for all residents of The Palm who can now enjoy the sea without the safety concerns posed by jet skis.”
In December last year, one man died and another was injured after a high-speed collision in the area between two jet skis.
Other incidents have been reported in recent months by residents to Nakheel, the developer of The Palm, and DMCA.
Action was taken after videos emerged of jet skis drag racing at high speed close to swimming lanes and a channel used by canoeists and paddle boarders.
“This will make a massive difference from a noise perspective for everyone affected by this,” said Rebecca Sutton, who lives near the beach.
“It can get very busy, particularly during winter. There needs to be an area where jet skis can go safely and still get that thrill, but this is a huge relief for many of us.
“I’m surprised this issue had not been addressed before.
“The noise carries across the water so it has been a real problem, particularly for young families.”
A spokeswoman for Nakheel said talks had been going on behind the scenes for some time to appease residents who had complained about noise and raised safety concerns.
“The safety, well-being and happiness of Palm Jumeirah residents and visitors is always our top priority,” she said.
“Nakheel took residents’ concerns about the use of jet skis very seriously, and has been liaising closely with the appropriate Dubai authorities to address and resolve the matter, and ensure residents’ peace of mind.
“We are pleased that the rules and regulations have been officially clarified by the DMCA, and thank our residents for their patience and understanding while we brought this matter to a close.”
Although rental skis have been restricted for some time, privately-owned craft have had a free run until now.
Anyone using a jet ski inside the restricted zone will now be fined Dh500, with that penalty doubled for a second offence.
A third penalty will result in a Dh1,500 fine with the ski impounded for a month.
Jony Frank, a jet ski instructor from India at Ride In Dubai, said private hire companies had been banned from entering The Palm for some time.
“As rental companies, we have not been allowed to take jet skis into The Palm for more than a year,” he said.
“The regulations are not new for operators, so it won’t affect us.
“There are other popular spots to ride jet skis, like near Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residences.
“DMCA had allowed privately-owned skis [on The Palm] until now, so this will change things for them.”