Fines flow from police jet-ski blitz

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SORRENTO and Mt Martha beaches recorded the highest number of boating offences during the Water Police’s Operation Jetwash.

Thirty-one offences were detected at each of those beaches in the operation which targeted unsafe behaviour over the holiday period. 

Twenty-five offences were detected at Rye, 24 at Martha Cove and 22 at Frankston during the six-day blitz.

As the name of the operation suggests, the police’s major focus was on jet skis and their owners’ behaviour. More than 220 infringements were issued including 53 for speeding – the most common offence. 

This included 39 for exceeding five knots within 50 metres of another vessel.

Thirteen jet-ski riders were caught without their marine licence documents and a further eight were found to have no marine licences at all.

Over the six days police issued 390 infringements – 65 a day – with many handed to boaters. More than 80 involved a range of safety-related offences including the use of life jackets and maintenance and possession of safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, torches and flares.

Seven kayakers were fined for life jacket-related offences and four swimmers were fined – including two for swimming within 50 metres of a boat launching ramp at Frankston.

“Water Police conducted about 700 vessel inspections during Operation Jetwash and it was alarming that over half resulted in infringement notices being issued,” Senior Sergeant Alistair Nisbet said.

“What these results show is that all water users need to lift their game when it comes to safety.

“This operation targeted jet-ski use and behaviour and, in too many cases, riders failed their safety tests.

“The number of offences for speeding and operating too close to other vessels is of a real concern. Jet-skis are not toys. They’re large, heavy, fast-moving machines and the results of a collision, be it with a swimmer or another vessel, can be catastrophic.

“Jet-ski users need to know the rules of the water and adhere to them or, as this operation shows, police will catch up with you.

“It’s also a concern that life jacket and safety equipment-related offences were detected across all watercraft.”

First published in the Frankston Times – 11 February 2019

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