New rules restrict jet ski riders

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Wave rider: A jet ski rider making their way in to shore at Frankston earlier this year. Picture: Gary Sissons

NEW penalties designed to “restrict irregular riding of personal watercraft” in Port Phillip Bay will be implemented next month.

Transport Safety Victoria confirmed that beginning on 16 December, jet ski riders could face a fine if they do not “navigate the PWC in the safest most direct course from the shore heading seaward, or from the sea towards the shore” and “avoid any irregular riding of the PWC or freestyling within the five knot speed restriction zones including donuts, circles, weaving”.

“Irregular” rising is defined as “weaving or diverting course that another person would be unable to predict, surfing down or jumping over or across any waves, wake or wash, or freestyling which includes manoeuvres such as sharp turns, circular or semi-circular operation of the PWC.”

Jet ski riders in breach of the new rule face a fine of $330.

Maritime Safety Victoria acting director Cameron Toy said “following an extensive public consultation process and having considered the significant feedback and comments received, I have taken the decision to implement this new rule. There was overwhelming support for the new rule with 67 per cent of respondents supporting it.”

“The new rule will require PWC operators to operate their craft in a predictable manner, which will provide greater certainty to other waterway users on the path they intend to take. The rule prohibits the irregular riding of PWCs in five-knot speed restricted zones around Port Phillip, to address the risk of incidents involving PWCs and other beach users,” Mr Toy said.

“This rule brings waters around Port Phillip Bay in line with other jurisdictions, such as New South Wales, and will simplify compliance activities undertaken by MSV, Victoria Police, Parks Victoria and appointed Local Government Authorities. 

“MSV is committed to ensuring that everyone, including boaters, jet skiers, fishers and swimmers, can enjoy a safe day on the water.”

More information at transportsafety.vic.gov.au/msv/pwc

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone New – 27 November 2019

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