Sharman says, get kids off jet-skis

Licensing rules allow children as young as 12 to ride jet-skis by themselves.
Licensing rules allow children as young as 12 to ride jet-skis by themselves.

FEDERAL MP for Murray Sharman Stone will urge NSW and Victorian governments to change boating laws that allow children as young as 12 to operate jet-skis.

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Vicroads and RTA rules allow children aged 12 to 16 to hold a restricted marine licence.

Its personal watercraft endorsement allows the holder to pilot a craft to a maximum speed of ten knots (18.5km/h).

Dr Stone said a growing number of constituents had complained to her about jet-skis being a nuisance on the regions waterways, despite the speed restrictions.

She said she had been told some young people were not obeying speed limits and others were driving in an irresponsible manner.

Some parents were not allowing their children to go into the water because of the misuse of jet-skis.

She said while it might help to have more police, having such young people in control of jet-skis “just isn’t worth the risk”.

“It’s a free for all out there,” Dr Stone said.

“If you have adults and children swimming, people in kayaks and other watercraft, powered or not, adding a young person on a jet-ski isn’t an ideal situation.”

“Jet-skis are high-powered watercraft that don’t have brakes — they should not be in the hands of someone that young.”

Dr Stone suggested the minimum licensing age should be 16 — the same age youth can obtain a learner’s permit to drive a car.

“Surely it’s not unreasonable to want older people in control of the craft,” Dr Stone said.

“State governments should be looking to review their regulations because there is enormous potential for an accident.”

The Border Mail contacted the Department of Transport about Dr Stone’s suggestions but it did not respond before deadline.