A recent spate of Jet Ski (Personal Watercraft) infringements into swimming areas, resulting in a greater risk to members of the public and increased demands on Search and Rescue organisations, has prompted five organisations to issue a joint appeal to jet ski users.
Personal watercrafts are an enjoyable form of water-based activity. Users must however, in addition to their own safety, respect the safety and wellbeing of other water users and remain vigilant at all times to any unnecessary encroachment into other activities, particularly swimming areas.
During the months of April and May the Coast Guard coordinated responses to 18 Jet Ski related incidents, 12 of which related to complaints pertaining to encroachments into swimming areas.
Roger Sweeney from Water Safety Ireland said: “Just as the public expects road users to comply with laws that keep people safe, jet ski users should ensure that they are compliant with local bye-laws, approved zones and speed limits. Responsible behaviour is essential for people’s safety and peace of mind.”
Dave Garvey, Training Development Officer with Irish Sailing: “Irish Sailing promote the safe and responsible participation in a wide range of activities on Ireland’s coastal and inland waters. Irish Sailing offer a range of training courses for Jet Skis (PWC) and other watercraft to educate operators in responsible good practice, ensuring their own safety as well as the safety of other water users around them.”
Waterways Ireland encourages the safe and responsible use of the inland waterways by all. They ask jet ski operators to comply with the bye-laws and speed zones when on the water and to ensure that behaviour does not affect other people’s safety and enjoyment. They are calling on users to respect the waterways, wildlife and environment.
Lisa Hollingum, Water Safety Delivery, RNLI added: “With our waterways and coastlines busier this summer we urge all personal watercraft users to have consideration for everyone in or on the water, including local wildlife. Act responsibly and familiarise yourself with the relevant bye-laws and behaviours permitted. Get trained and enjoy the water safely.”
Coast Guard’s Operations Manager Micheál O’Toole said: ‘We would like to thank all members of the public for their continued safety efforts on or near the water as we approach what is expected to be another busy June bank holiday weekend. Please at all times take time to plan your activity, ensure that it is safe to do so and ensure that somebody ashore is either monitoring your activity or knows what time to expect you back”
The public are requested to familiarise themselves with the following key safety measures before using a PWC / Jet Ski.
Keep a safe distance from other water users
Learn how to operate your machine
Know your own and your machine’s capabilities/limitations
Wear an approved lifejacket or buoyancy aid
Always use a kill chord
Check weather forecasts and tides
Have a suitable means of attracting attention in an emergency
Advise someone ashore of your expected departure and return times
Operate your machine in the vicinity of other water users e.g. swimmers, divers, craft such as angling boats, canoes, sailing boats etc.
Cause a safety hazard by high-speed use
Create unnecessary noise and disturbance to other people or wildlife
Allow those under 16yrs of age to operate PWCs or other Fast Powered Craft
Drink and Drive
If you see somebody in trouble or think they are in trouble Dial 112 and ask for the Coast Guard