A&B DEFENCE FORCE ENGAGES JET SKI AUTHORITIES Wednesday 10th June 2020
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda – 9th June, 2020…….Jet Ski operators in Antigua and Barbuda have agreed to collaborate with stakeholders to improve the sector following consultations organized by the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force Coast Guard division and the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping ADOMS.
On Tuesday 2 June, the Commanding Officer of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force Coast Guard (ABDF CG), Lieutenant Commander Elroy Skerritt, and representatives of the Unit, along with the Director of the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping (ADOMS), H.E. Ambassador Dwight Gardiner, met with eighteen (18) members of the Jet Ski group ‘SKIDADLI’, to address public concerns surrounding jet ski operators.
Lieutenant Commander Elroy Skerritt outlined that there is a notion by the public of ‘nuisance’ associated with jet ski operators and therefore the meeting was designed to engage the group on best practices. He stated that the laws surrounding jet ski operators, namely the ‘Small Craft Act’ was examined and discussed.
Ambassador Gardiner outlined that the dialogue with the jet ski operators was very instructive and gave his department a better understanding of the need to create a safer environment for mariners and sea bathers alike. He admonished the operators to familiarize themselves with the regulations to better serve the public and protect all stakeholders in the tourism industry.
At the conclusion of the discussions, it was agreed that future engagements should be held to sensitize all stakeholders (mariners and sea bathers) on the regulations that exist, and the safety mechanisms associated with them. It was agreed that follow-up forums will be held in the coming months.
The meeting also agreed on a number of best practices to improve safety of jet ski operations. These include:
- Facilitating training sessions to formally orient new jet ski operators, in the areas of marine safety and the governing regulations.
- The use of unique logo that is highly recognizable from a distance to identify and distinguish the group.
- Exercising respect for all users of the sea to include sea bathers and other boat users.
- Maintaining the rules that are in place to govern the operations of jet skis as outlined under the Small Craft Regulations.
- Informing the Coast Guard of any jet ski rallies that is organized by the group involving the participation of 10 or more bikes.
- Facilitating a safety brief before the commencement of any rally with jet skis.
The engagement with jet ski operators forms part of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force programme to ensure that the laws governing the use of the country’s territorial waters and beaches are enforced in the best interest of all citizens and visitors.
Additional engagements with jet ski rentals, commercial and pleasure craft operators, and the general public will be organized by the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force and the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping (ADOMS).
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