Jet skiers blame minority

Victoria Police launches operation to target jet ski riders

JET ski enthusiasts Lorelly Soyer and Steve Carter believe it is only a minority of riders who break river rules. 

The stance comes after Victoria Police launched Operation Collosus which targets jet ski users who act up, particularly in swimming zones, until April next year.  

Plain clothed officers will work alongside uniformed water police, patrolling the foreshore and looking out for any dangerous behaviour on the water. 

Ms Soyer, from Melbourne, said it was only a small number of jet skiers that gave the sport a bad name. 

"Most are pretty good," she said. 

"It is only a small number of people who wreck it for everyone." 

It is only a small number of people who wreck it for everyone. - Lorelly Soyer

Ms Soyer said she rarely encountered any bad behaviour at Lake Eppalock, where she holidays, and made an effort to drive cautiously.

"I have never really encountered any bad jet skiers but Lake Eppalock is pretty family-friendly," she said. 

"A couple of random hoons but that's all."

Mr Carter agreed and said there was a negative stigma attached to jet-ski users. 

"It's not all of them that muck up," he said. 

Victoria Police Senior Sergeant Steve Towers said water police were fed up with jet ski riders ignoring water safety rules. 

He said police would keep an eye on high-powered vessels until riders "get the message".

"It is frustrating to continually see this type of behaviour, day in and out, despite the obvious risks," he said.

"You are operating a high-powered vessel that weighs 400 kilograms or more.

"Think about the impact that you can have if you collide with another boater - or worse, a swimmer."

Sergeant Towers said police recognised that many jet ski riders behaved safely, but that there were "far too many rogues out there who are ruining it for everyone".

"It's simple: stay out of the swimming zones, head out 200 metres from shore, and stay more than 50 metres away from other vessels and people," he said.

In October, a 23-year-old Roxburgh Park man, Ivan Maqi, was charged over the death of a 51-year-old swimmer at Lagoon Pier, near Port Melbourne, in 2012.

The South Melbourne man died in hospital of head injuries several days after the incident.

It was alleged that Mr Maqi, who was charged with culpable driving causing death, was speeding at the time and riding in a restricted area.

madeleine.wines@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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