Department for Transport
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Government to clamp down on dangerous use of jet skis with new legislation

Consultation launched to strengthen the enforcement of safety laws for recreational and personal watercraft.

  • consultation launched to protect public and local wildlife from dangerous driving
  • personal and recreational watercraft – including jet skis – will fall under same laws as ships
  • tougher sentences for anyone in breach of safety laws

The Department for Transport yesterday (6 September 2021) published a consultation to modernise laws and clamp down on dangerous driving of jet skis to protect the public and coastal areas.

The consultation will bring recreational and personal watercraft, such as jet-skis and speedboats, under the same laws as those who operate ships, meaning tougher sentences for those caught driving dangerously.

Under the current system, local authorities (LAs) have the power to regulate speed and nuisance driving through byelaws, with the power to fine those breaching the rules up to £1,000.

Although many LAs have introduced speed limits, signage and ID tags to prevent accidents, there remains a number of unmanaged waters around the UK and, since the beginning of 2020, there have been 4 fatalities related to dangerous driving on jet skis, which these laws will help to prevent.

Bringing recreational and personal watercraft in line with laws in place for boats will ensure tougher sentences for reckless driving across all waters.

Maritime Minister Robert Courts yesterday said:

The vast majority of jet-skis users, and those operating personal and recreational watercraft, do so safely and responsibly. However, there are those who unfortunately put others in danger.

Introducing these laws will help prevent accidents from happening, allowing everyone to enjoy our waterways, beaches and coastlines safely and with peace of mind.

The consultation is part of the government’s commitment to personal and recreational watercraft safety outlined in the Maritime Safety Action Plan launched by ministers during Maritime Safety Week 2019.

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