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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Stone calls for rethink on minimum jet ski user age

Member for Murray Sharman Stone is questioning if age 12 is old enough to drive a jet ski solo on local rivers.

January 9, 2013 4:46am

Congestion on the water at Echuca east boat ramp.


 

Member for Murray Sharman Stone is calling for a rethink on the legal age of jet ski users.

Under maritime law, children aged 12 can operate a jet ski on their own on local rivers if they hold a Restricted Marine Licence with a Personal Water Craft Endorsement.

At 16 years of age, the restrictions are removed.

Dr Stone questioned if 12 was old enough to drive a vehicle that was increasingly getting bigger, quieter and much faster.

‘‘Jet skis are very appealing to young people as they can be a lot of fun, but more and more they are being manufactured with hoon appeal,’’ she said.

‘‘To have people on jet skis as young as 12 in that environment is very risky.

‘‘Water police resources are stretched to the limit now.

‘‘They cannot be everywhere at once, and so a rethink is needed as to who can access these powerful machines in public places.’’

Dr Stone likened the risk jet skis could pose on the water to the risk on the roads.

‘‘We see too many avoidable accidents on the roads now,’’ Dr Stone said.

‘‘We should not be increasing the danger levels on the water as well.’’

The call follows a story in last week’s Riv about two people who were seriously injured in jet ski incidents on the Murray River on the one day last Sunday.

The story prompted police and NSW Roads and Maritime to issue warnings to jet ski users about behaving responsibly on the water.

Moama-Echuca River Users Group chairman and Murray Shire mayor Tom Weyrich also responded and said the Murray River needed a designated area for jet skis.

Jet ski rules on the Murray River, which come under the jurisdiction of NSW, mirror the rules in Victoria.

The rules state jet skis used by persons under the age of 16 should not be driven faster than 10 knots or 18.5km/h, must be operated in daylight hours only and there can be no towing.

Dr Stone said in Victoria, Vicroads was the place to go to get a jet ski licence, restricted or otherwise.

For information, phone 131171 or visit the Vicroads website at http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/Licences/OtherLicences/MarineLicences/

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