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Jetskis must be registered, used sensibly, public reminded

Thursday 17 January 2013, 3:51PM

By Northland Regional Council

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A correctly registered, sensibly used jetski.
A correctly registered, sensibly used jetski. Credit: Northland Regional Council

NORTHLAND

The Northland Regional Council is reminding jetski users their machines must be registered for use in the region, should be operated responsibly - and not by unsupervised young people.

Northland’s Deputy Harbourmaster Chidambaram Surendran says registration of personal water craft (jetskis) is compulsory under the council’s Navigation Safety Bylaw.

He says complaints about jetski users’ behaviour typically increase over the warmer summer months, with most centring on breaches of the five-knot speed limit within 200-metres of shore or 50-metres of another vessel, craft or person.

“We’ve had a number of fairly serious incidents around the region so far this summer, including one young man who allegedly travelled into a marina at speed on a jetski and another where someone allegedly raced closely past a number of moored boats.”

Mr Surendran says the alleged marina incident is still being investigated however, a warning had already been issued in relation to the second incident.

Other incidents had included children being towed behind jetskis on a biscuit without a proper lookout and others travelling at speed very close to rocks or riverbanks in narrow coastal areas.

He says there are good reasons for both safety and registration rules and people have been injured and even killed in jetski incidents elsewhere in New Zealand.

“As well as helping locate anyone seen breaking our safety bylaws, registration is also a useful way of identifying jetskis if they’re stolen.”

Mr Surendran says by mutual agreement, Auckland Council maintains a single register of jetskis used in the Auckland, Northland and Waikato regions, an arrangement that has been in place for several years.

Registration costs $35 (including GST) and involves completing a form available from the councils or their websites.  The address for the form on the Northland Regional Council’s website is www.nrc.govt.nz/jetski

“Once a jetski is registered with the Auckland Council, registration’s valid in all three regions for the life of the jetski.  Ownership can be transferred free of cost if the jetski’s sold.”

Mr Surendran says each side of a registered jetski needs to clearly display the unique number issued to it by the Auckland Council.

Stickers can be supplied for an additional $12.50 or signwritten by the owner themselves on their jetski in the colour and lettering style of their choice – as long as it’s easily readable, each digit is at least 90mm high and 80mm wide and is clearly visible.”

Mr Surendran says it’s illegal to use unregistered jetskis in Northland waters and people flouting the bylaw risk an instant fine of $200.

Legally, people under 15 cannot operate vessels capable of speeds of more than 10 knots (including jetskis) in Northland waters unless they’re being actively supervised by an adult.

“That doesn’t mean an adult standing on the beach watching; the supervisor has to be older than 15 and be within ‘immediate reach’ of a machine’s controls’.”

Mr Surendran says all jetski users should take care not to exceed 5 knots within 50 metres of another vessel or person in the water, 200 metres of shore or a vessel engaged in diving.

“It’s also important to wear an appropriate life jacket, always be considerate to other water users and remember that higher speeds mean much less time to react.”