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Jetski in Patong: insurance may end the tourist scams

Phuket Insurance Bid: Patong Jetskis Multiply

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
PHUKET authorities and jetski owners are considering compulsory insurance in an effort to end the rip-offs and large hospital bills that tourists often complain about.

But there is a new mystery: how have jetskis managed to multiply beyond the agreed limit on their numbers?

Vice Governor Worapot Rattasima chaired a meeting at Provincial Hall yesterday that included for the first time Suwimon Sealem, the provincial insurance officer.

She told the meeting she would take the issue to insurance companies and return with their their view on the likely costs.

But it would still remain a matter of the jetski operators agreeing to compulsory insurance.

There was also the issue of whether insurance would be only on the vehicles, or the riders as well.

''I will visit Patong first, where there are the largest number of complaints and mishaps,'' she said. ''We should have a more complete picture early next month.''

The superintendent of Kathu police station, Police Colonel Grissak Songmoonnark, was also at the gathering, along with representatives from the jetski communities at Patong, Kata, Karon, Bang Tao and Kamala.

Colonel Grissak said that in 2008, Patong police recorded 49 mishaps involving jetskis at a cost of three million baht in compensation.

In some instances, the claims of damage by the jetski owners ranged beyond 100,000 baht.

''This is expensive for tourists so if the jetski owners agree to insurance, it will help to reduce complaints.''

He added that if complaints continued, it would not only be bad for tourism generally but people would no longer use the jetskis.

Phuket Marine Department 5 superintendent Oran Hangjarean said there was a mystery as to how jetski numbers had grown beyond the agreed limits.

''In 2003, there were five beaches that could have jetskis with 219 registered vehicles,'' he said. ''No new registrations were to be permitted.

''In 2007, the owners asked for more jetskis to be registered. Some jetskis seem to have been brought from other provinces, where they were registered.''

He said he would instruct other provinces to make it plain that the licences were not transferrable.

The Deputy Mayor of Patong, Chairat Sukkaban, told the meeting that insurance of jetskis would reduce the problem.

After the 2004 tsunami, 167 jetskis were registered in Patong, although there were 126 before the big wave. Kamala had 22, Kata-Karon 36, and Bang Tao 35.

He said he did not know how the number in Patong grew to 167 while numbers remained the same on the other beaches.

Governor Wichai Praisa-nob has a plan to impose buoy markers that would prevent the jetskis coming too close to swimmers.

One of his predecessors proposed that the jetskis be phased out but another governor has since allowed jetski owners to replace old machines.

A scam in which unethical jetski owners claim compensation for pre-existing damage to vehicles has triggered the latest calls for action.

Tourists injured in jetski mishaps are usually uninsured and left with large hospital bills.

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


The police and jetski owners not want insurances for sure !! They overcharge 3-4 times the cost of damage every time, they even agree on it between police and jetski owners when they negotiate with foreigners, but how do they know what they talk about in Thai !!

Make it a most if they want the jetskis on public beaches !!

Most Western countries had banned jetskis on most beaches, too noisy and dangerous !

Posted by peter on May 19, 2009 19:08

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