Jet skiers urged to keep speed down

Jet skiers at Sumner in Christchurch are being reminded by the Harbourmaster’s Office to stick to a fast walking pace when they are close to the shore or swimmers.

Navigation safety officer Gary Manch said jet skiers need to keep their speed down to five knots unless they are 400 metres away from the shore and 50 metres from a swimmer or surfer.

This applies in the area roughly stretching from Shag Rock to Scarborough. In most other parts of Canterbury, speed must be reduced to five knots within 200 metres of the shore instead of 400 metres.

“Reducing your speed will reduce the risk of an accident. Five knots equates to a fast walking pace. If you’re creating a wake, you’re going too fast,” Manch said.

“It is great to see people out there enjoying the water at Sumner, but speed rules must be followed to keep everyone safe.  If you want to go faster you can exit the boat ramp at Redcliffs or Scarborough and go straight out to sea until you’re at least 400 metres from the shore,” he said.

It is also compulsory for all boaties including jet skiers to wear a lifejacket on the water.  Paddleboarders are exempt from wearing a lifejacket only if they have their board attached by an ankle strap and are using it in the surf.

“Our team works throughout Canterbury to educate boaties and jet skiers on the rules, but at the end of the day we ask individual water users to take responsibility for knowing and following the rules in their area.”

“We can’t be everywhere at once, and that’s one of the reasons that we brought in a vessel identification rule in the Navigation Safety Bylaw 2016.  This requires all boats – including jet skis – to have an ID name or number, such as their trailer number, clearly printed on both sides of the vessel.

“As more and more vessels add their IDs, we will be able to identify and follow up with anyone not following safety rules.”