Proposed Marlborough registration rules 'single out' jet skis
A proposal to register jet skis in Marlborough unfairly targets a minority group of water users and should be extended to cover boats, a Picton man says.
Seamonkeez Jetski Hire owner Mike Stewart said it was similar to making registration compulsory for Ferraris and Lamborghinis while leaving out other cars.
"Jet skis make up roughly 5 per cent of the population of all water craft on the seas, and only they're being targeted for registration," he said.
"In the right hands jet skis aren't a problem, it's the idiots riding them that don't use their brains. Most operators are sensible, just like most boat owners are sensible."
The Marlborough District Council is proposing to make registration compulsory for all jet skis in the region as part of a review of its navigation safety bylaws.
The move was prompted in part by growing numbers of complaints about jet skis speeding too close to the shore or other boats in the Marlborough Sounds.
Having a registration number on each jet ski would help identify users flouting the rules, as well as enabling the harbourmaster to deliver targeted education material.
Stewart, who runs the only jet ski hire business in Marlborough, said he supported registration but said it needed to be extended to all vessels, not just jet skis.
"I don't think it's fair to single out jet skis," he said at Picton's Shelley Beach.
"If you sat here for a few hours and watched the boats coming in and out I guarantee you'd see them come past here breaking the five knot rule."
Boat and jet ski users could be fined up to $200 if they exceeded five knots within 200 metres of the shore, or within 50 metres of another vessel or person in the water.
Education was key to making people aware of their responsibilities, Stewart said.
"Cars have registration numbers, but that doesn't stop people from speeding, or drink-driving. The key thing is better education of the five knot rules."
Stewart said each time he hired out one of his six jet skis he gave an extensive safety briefing, and informed the person hiring the craft about the speed regulations.
Marlborough harbourmaster Luke Grogan said he supported registration for boats, but said it would need to be driven by central, not local, Government.
The reason the council was proposing registration for jet skis was because it was provided for in the Maritime Transport Act, and there was an existing system they could use.
Grogan said Auckland Transport was developing an online registration system, which could be used to register jet skis in Marlborough at a cost of $60.
"Under the current bylaws, which will carry over, boats are required to have a name which is clearly readable from 50 metres away," Grogan said.
"But there's no registration for personal boats, partly because it's not explicitly mentioned in the Maritime Transport Act."
Grogan said having a registration system for boats would be helpful from a navigational safety point of view, and it would provide better information when it came to sale and purchase.
"I would support licensing across the board as long as it wasn't unreasonably expensive," he said.
- The Marlborough Express