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5 knot speed limit for jet skis

14 Dec 2011

5 knot speed limit for jet skis

A number of complaints have been received by Council about jet skis speeding up and down the city’s rivers in the last few weeks. Skiers are reminded that their toys can be dangerous and they must stick to a five knot speed limit.

City rivers are already busy with waka ama crews, rowers and kayakers so any type of motorised craft must take extra care, says Sarwan Kumar, regulatory services manager. “Our beaches are starting to fill up with locals and holiday makers enjoying a famous Gisborne summer. We urge all boaties to use common sense especially when close to shore and around swimmers. Slow down, it is very hard to see people in the water if you are travelling at speed."

A maximum speed of 5 knots (9km/hr) for jet skis or any boat towing water skiers and biscuits within 200 metres of shore or on rivers is stipulated in Gisborne District Council’s Navigation Safety bylaw. This is also the maximum speed within 50 metres of another craft or people in the water. An observer must be on board during towing or water skiing activities.

Rowers and kayakers can’t use the bylaw as an excuse to go easy on their training. The maximum speed limit only applies to power driven vessels. Waka and other human powered vessels are exempt.

A $200 instant fine can be issued to anyone breaking the bylaw. These fines will be issued by the harbourmaster and Council’s monitoring and enforcement officers.

“Surf lifesavers patrolling our beaches will be Council’s eyes and ears. They will be keeping an eye on boat and jet ski behaviour close to shore. Their job is to keep beach users safe. If they see anyone not complying with the bylaw they will contact Council or the police. If you are approached by a lifeguard please listen and do what they say – they are there to help you keep safe.”

Visitors and residents are reminded that to use a jet ski in the Gisborne district it must be registered with Council. Registration is free and enables Council to monitor jet ski activity. Jet skis must display a unique identification number on both sides of the craft. The registration form is available from Council’s website or Customer Services in Fitzherbert Street or Te Puia Springs.

There is a designated jet ski area beyond Midway Beach at the beacon opposite Pacific Street. The area is identified by orange posts and signs on the beach. Jet skis can easily be launched from the beach here. The area is close to the popular surfing area “The Pipe”.  Jet skiers are reminded to keep a safe distance from swimmers and surfers and stay 200 metres away from the waters edge.

Swimmers are reminded that The Cut at the end of Waikanae Beach is a designated access lane for boats and swimming is not permitted.

Staying water safe

  • don't drink and boat or jet ski
  • wear your life-jacket at all times
  • don't overload the boat, it could capsize
  • don’t tow anyone on your jet ski
  • tell someone what your plans are before heading out on to the water
  • if you are water skiing, you must have an observer, not just the driver, on the boat

For more jet ski information