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Instead of being phased out, jet-ski numbers on Phuket are growing

Phuket Jet-Ski Numbers 'Beyond Our Control'

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
PHUKET: The number of jet-skis on Phuket now tops 300 and continues to grow, says the regional head of Marine Office 5, Wichai Kamwong.

''We cannot control jet-skis on Phuket,'' he said. ''Local authorities continue ro register them.

''Everywhere else in the Anadaman region, the local people oppose jet-skis, but not on Phuket.''

Local police in Patong, Phuket's west-coast holiday capital, and the Tourist Police both rate jet-skis as the source of the most damaging scams inflicted on tourists on Phuket.

Representatives from all six Andaman provinces covered by Marine Office 5 met this week to consider - among other options - forcing jet-skis on Phiuket to operate from pontoons 500 metres out to sea.

''We are still talking about the pontoon idea and other ideas,'' Khun Wichai said.

He said he was not aware, until told by Phuketwan, that jet-skis already operated illegally on Surin beach and Laem Sing beach.

Most of Phuket's honorary consuls also list jet-skis as the No. 1 problem that leads to operators ripping off tourists in fake damage scams as well as inflating values whenever there is a genuine collision.

The latest incident occurred in December when a South African tourist on a jet-ski crashed into two Australian women on a second jet-ski, putting one of the women in hospital for an extended period.

Although the South African man said he would pay for all damage, two jet-ski operators later turned up at a hospital in Phuket City with the intention of extracting more cash from the injured Australian woman.

The incident horrified hospital officials and honorary consuls.

Ambassadors and embassy representatives have made jet-skis their top priority in talking to government and tourism officials in Bangkok about what needs to change to improve Phuket's reputation as a safe and ''green'' holiday destination.

The increasing numbers of tourists visiting Phuket - and Patong especially - means that attempts to divide beaches into swimming and jet-ski plus parasailing activities using buoy barriers are probably doomed to fail.

Some jet-ski operators would like their industry cleaned up and properly controlled. The failure of a plan to phase out jet-skis over seven years leaves Phuket with an undesirable reputation for failing to stamp out jet-ski scams.

In most cases, the operators try to restrict their targets to Patong beach and attempt to prevent them contacting police, Tourist Police or honorary consuls. Intervention and mediation usually results in damages being reduced to realistic sums.

Last year Phuket was reported to have 286 insured and registered jet-skis, which operate with permission from only six points: Patong, Kata, Karon, Kamala, Bang Tao and Naka Island. A total of 167 insured jet-skis operate from Patong.


Comments have been disabled for this article.



Posted by phuket madness on January 11, 2012 09:43


It seems the only thing under these people's control is where to have lunch.

Posted by Soupdragon on January 11, 2012 09:59


When there's a will, there's a way.

It's painfully obvious to everyone who's been following the Jet-Ski saga that there's no will to resolve the issue. Best case scenario is just empty promises and window dressing.

There are problems all around the world but what makes Phuket stand out is the utter inaction by local authorities to resolve any of these problems that mostly involve foreigners only.

There's hardly anything anyone can say that has not already been said.

BTW, has K. Phuripat been replaced as head of Marine Office 5 or am I confusing their duties ? Is K. Wichai in a supervisory position in regard to K. Phuripat ?

Either way it's great to see you pursue the issue with people other than K. Phuripat because it's obvious that conversations with him lead to nothing positive.

Posted by Steve C. on January 11, 2012 10:07

Editor Comment:

Khun Wichai is the head of regional Marine Office 5.


"Some jet-ski operators would like their industry cleaned up and properly controlled."

Good one, Ed.

Posted by stuart on January 11, 2012 10:25

Editor Comment:

Not all jet-ski operators are involved in the rip-offs, stuart.


'Beyond Our Control,' Says Marine 5 Chief. Well, what is this office good for? They can't even control speedboat drivers who almost kill people...

Posted by Fritz Pinguin on January 11, 2012 10:28


Time for him to get out of the office and into the field.

Posted by Billy on January 11, 2012 10:53


Khun Wichai should pay a visit to Koh Naka, where 10 jet skis now operate, from the beach on the east side.

Posted by Beach lover on January 11, 2012 11:18


the most honest statement yet heard from a government enforcement agency gives one a glimmer of hope though no controls.

Posted by Anonymous on January 11, 2012 11:45


Get rid on these noisy jet-skis for good. Phuket will be better for it.

Posted by chaseone on January 11, 2012 11:51


although removing the jet-skis to a pontoon would seem the sensible thing to do ( as getting rid of them will never happen) the number of damage scams will no doubt increase when the same hull 'damage' not visible to the punters will be extorted time and time again.

Posted by Mister Ree on January 11, 2012 12:45

Editor Comment:

Jet-ski operators should contribute to a cooperative fund so that the cooperative fund covers all damage. Once the operators have to pay for claims, they may reduce.


An article appearing in the New York Times this past weekend mentioned 45 places worth a visit this year. Included were one each in Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and South Korea, this last for golf. No Phuket (nor anywhere else in Thailand for that matter).

Posted by ssresident on January 11, 2012 12:47


Taking the JetSkis offshore will only create more problems for the Tourist, They will be held to ransom out there until they pay up. But I would like to see all 300 Jet-Skis in the one location, people will only hire the best of the bunch.

Posted by law on January 11, 2012 14:08


yawn indeed!!!

Posted by poppops on January 11, 2012 16:36


'Beyond Our Control,' Says Marine 5 Chief...well sir, it is YOUR job to bring them under control.

Posted by Laurie Howells on January 13, 2012 09:51

Wednesday January 19, 2022
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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