A public consultation on the classification of jet skis and other recreational and personal watercraft ends on 1 November 2021

A consultation into the reclassification of jet skis, speed boats and other recreational and personal watercraft to make users subject to the same laws and safety obligations as those who operate ships, ends on 1 November 2021.

Sailors are being asked to contribute to the Department of Transport consultation, which is proposing tougher sentences for those caught driving recklessly and to ‘modernise laws and clamp down on dangerous driving of jet skis to protect the public and coastal areas.’.

The consultation, ‘Strengthening enforcement of the dangerous use of recreational and personal watercraft’ will close at 11:45pm on 01 November 2021.

It is part of the UK Government’s commitment to personal and recreational watercraft safety, outlined in the Maritime Safety Action Plan launched by ministers during Maritime Safety Week 2019.

Commenting the Maritime Minister Robert Courts said: ‘The vast majority of jet-skis users, and those operating personal and recreational watercraft, do so safely and responsibly. However, there are those who unfortunately put others in danger.

‘Introducing these laws will help prevent accidents from happening, allowing everyone to enjoy our waterways, beaches and coastlines safely and with peace of mind,’ he added.

speedboats in Falmouth harbour

Changes in the law will also impact owners of speed boats. Credit: Getty

Following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions last summer, some harbour masters banned the launching and use of jet skis in harbour limits, due to concerns about safety.

Hampshire’s Marine Support Unit launched Operation Wavebreaker last summer due to a surge in reports of anti-social behaviour on the waters around Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, including speeding jet skiers.

Poole Harbour Commissioners also reported a rise in anti-social behaviour, and increased patrols in Poole Harbour as well as successfully fining two people for speeding on their jet skis within the harbour limits.

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The RYA has responded to the Department of Transport consultation into the reclassification of jet skis and other recreational and personal watercraft

The RYA Director of External Affairs, Howard Pridding, said the association would be backing the law change.

‘The RYA works with partners on initiatives to support safe and responsible use of personal watercraft. We share the Minister’s desire to frame legislation that will help to address the minority of PWC users who behave irresponsibly and create issues,’ he said.

‘We have undertaken a detailed review of the proposed changes to legislation to ensure that it is focussed and will not bring unintended consequences for other forms of boating. We will be submitting a thorough response to the consultation and would encourage our members who enjoy riding personal watercraft responsibly to have their say before the consultation deadline,’ added Pridding

To have your say on the consultation go to: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/strengthening-enforcement-of-the-dangerous-use-of-recreational-and-personal-watercraft

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