The Government’s move towards making it mandatory for jet skis to be registered by their owners has been welcomed by Senator Malcolm Byrne.
Senator Byrne raised the issue as a commencement debate in the Seanad recently, where he highlighted that, at present, it is possible to buy and use a jet ski that can travel up to 100 km per hour without registration, training or insurance.
“We do not want to stop people from using jet skis. Encouraging water sports is important, but people should do them responsibly. However, at the moment, we are allowing unlicensed, uninsured and untrained people out on these very powerful vehicles,” he said.
Senator Byrne said that we need a registration process for jet skis similar to that for motor vehicles.
In a response, Minister Mary Butler said that there are a range of existing control mechanisms relating to the regulation of jet skis under the Maritime Safety Act 2005. This includes sections of the act which allow ‘local authorities, harbour authorities and Waterways Ireland to make by-laws to regulate or control the operation of craft or specified classes of craft, including jet skis’. She acknowledged Senator Byrne’s points about the need for such bylaws to be enforced, and also said she encourages the relevant authorities to explore what actions they can take if specific problems may be arising with jet skis in particular local areas or waters.
In response to Senator Byrne’s points on jet ski registration, Minister Butler said that ‘the provision of the Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships) Act 2014, when fully commenced, will assist in the identification of owners of jet skis for enforcement purposes’.
“An extension of mandatory registration to additional ship categories, including personal watercraft such as jet skis, is proposed for the future when the new ship registration regime is rolled out. However, this will take some time as the full commencement of the Act requires the establishment of a new electronic ship register and registration regime, which will be progressed under a separate information technology project.”
Concerns around jet ski usage in Courtown Harbour have been raised at Gorey Kilmuckridge Municipal District meetings in recent years.