Water safety groups have issued a joint appeal for responsibility after a number of safety incidents involving jet skis.
The appeal urges jet ski users to be mindful of their own safety and “respect the safety and wellbeing of other water users”, while it also asks them to avoid “unnecessary encroachment” into swimming areas and other water group activities.
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.
The groups who issued the appeal are: Water Safety Ireland, Irish Sailing, Waterways Ireland, the RNLI and the Coast Guard.
They outlined the following safety measures:
- 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 life jacket 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.
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.”
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”