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Tobago, Store Bay: A Ban on Jet Skis

By Sue Richards last modified Jul 06, 2011 09:40 AM

Published: 2011-07-06 09:40:26
Countries: Trinidad & Tobago

After months of campaigning, jet skis look set to be banned from the anchorage at Store Bay, Tobago.

The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) announced last month it wants to ban the operation of jet skis on Tobago's south west peninsula, stretching from Store Bay right into Buccoo/Plymouth, taking in Mount Irvine and Pigeon Point.

John Stickland, the operations director at Store Bay Marine Services, who has campaigned for jet skis to be properly regulated for the last year, says, “We welcome this news. It is something we've pushed for over the last year. Jet ski operators continually use the anchorage here at Store Bay without much regard to safety or rules of the road. This has resulted in problems of wake and in some cases, a jet ski running into a yacht.”

Store Bay Marine Services has been in contact with the island's Attorney General, along with the Fisheries and Tourism departments over the problem with jet skis.

The Deputy Chief Secretary of the THA, Hilton Sandy, has publicly stated that the Assembly was compelled to implement the drastic measure in the face of continued resistance to repeated warnings from the authorities over the years. Mr Sandy, says, “What we are going to do in the next two weeks, is police the area, to ensure jet skis do not operate their craft in the area. Should they enter the water, action will be taken to confiscate the equipment." He's also stated that jet ski operators were ignoring the concerns of the public and now posed a danger and threat to the safety of bathers and other marine users, particularly in waters around Store Bay and Pigeon Point.

Many jet-skis in Tobago are not licensed or covered by public liability insurance.

The ban will be enforced by the Tobago House of Assembly's “environment police”, which are attached to the Division of Agriculture, Marine Affairs, Marketing and the Environment. Three patrol boats have been bought by the THA and will be used to enforce the ban.

These patrols will also be enforcing the restrictions to anchoring at Pigeon Point and Buccoo Reef. Anchoring in the vicinity of Pigeon Point and Buccoo Reef is restricted by law – the Marine Areas (Restricted Area) Amendment Order 1996 - and vessels should not enter or anchor without permission of the Minister. If found in this area, sailors can face summary conviction and fines of up to $6,000.

For more information contact John Stickland at [email protected] or phone: (+1) 868 390 5408.