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Jet-skis on Phuket remain a divisive issue for tourism

Phuket Jet-Ski Operators Are 'Sometimes Fresh from Jail and Difficult to Train'

Monday, August 19, 2013
PHUKET: Some of the people operating jet-skis on Patong beach were just out of prison and could not even read Thai properly, a meeting about Phuket's jet-skis was told today.

''They need to learn and we have our own ways of controlling these people,'' the President of the Patong Jet-Ski Association, Nucha Petchvimol, told Governor Maitree Intrusud.

The meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City brought together a representative from Phuket's Marine 5 Office and jet-ski overseers from Patong, Kamala, Karon, Bang Tao and Naka island.

''Forget the JJ jet-ski image,'' he said. ''Not many people think the jet-ski industry hasn't improved since those days.''

Khun Nucha said he went to all of Patong's 12 jet-ski stations each day, reinforcing the message of consumer service and honesty.

A nationa law is being proposed that would ensure that jet-ski operators were obliged to behave at all times, he said.

He added that problems involving tourists were much greater these days in the motorcycle-hire and car-hire businesses, he said, simply because there were many more of them.

Governor Maitree was told that Phuket had 286 jet-skis, 170 at Patong, 40 at Bang Tao, 38 at Karon, 26 at Kamala and 12 at Naka island.

Only about 100 to 120 were in use at Patong regularly, Khun Nucha said, because the rest were usually out of the water for a variety of reasons.

Standard cost was 30 minutes for 1500 baht, he said, with fuel costing 500-600 baht and 200-300 baht usually going to the operator on the beach.

''Maintaining jet-skis is high cost because parts sometimes have to be ordered from Japan,'' he said.

Marine 5 really should make sure that all jet-skis had insurance, he said, which was not the case at present.

Arguments usually arise after jet-skis are damaged because the insurance celing of 50,000 baht sometimes does not cover costs and the user is almost always asked to pay at least 16,000 baht to cover the time the jet-ski will be out of the water.

Phuket's honorary consuls have suggested that jet-ski operators can afford to pay a higher insurance premium to cover all costs and obliterate the need for disputes.

This was not mentioned at today's meeting. However, Naka Island jet-ski owner Chaowalit Thaijalern suggested the establishment of a mediation team of volunteers who could be called in to a beach if there was a dispute.

There was not need to take arguments to local Phuket police stations for settlement, he said. Issues remain with teaching Russian and Chinese tourists the safety rules and speaking the same languages.

However, he said one of the new problems on Naka island was the tourist group guides, who either insisted on extra commission or charged their guests 2000 baht for a 1500 baht ride without disclosing it to anyone else.

The governor agreed that mostly, ''jet-ski rip-offs and cheating, that is in the past, not the present.'' He is to give the opening talk when jet-ski operators attend day-long seminars on August 29-30.

About 100 jet-ski operators are expected to attend the lectures on service standards, safety and other issues each day.

Jet-skis may be an issue once again when the governor meets with Phuket honorary consuls tomorrow.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


'jet-ski rip-offs and cheating, that is in the past, not the present.'' - thats phukets problem right there...

Posted by Ciaran on August 19, 2013 17:43


What happens to the operators when they fail to follow the rules ? Jet skis confiscated, THB 10.000 fined, banned from the bech and the business ? Probably none of the above; else would make me wonder.

Posted by Resident on August 19, 2013 18:32


If we had only jet-ski operators to train about good behaviors, it would be easy to solve the problem but we have also tuk-tuk and taxi drivers, speed-boat captains, Thai crew on tour and dive boats, beach-chair operators, girls and katoys in bars, low-paid officers in police stations, and the list is endless.... May someone continue for me.....

Posted by Whistle-Blower on August 19, 2013 18:43


Tourists needs to be widely warned to not rent jet ski and avoid tuk tuk, to rent a bike at their hotels or a car with Avis, Hertz...only, it's the best way to get rid off those parasites and for tourists to avoid problems.

Posted by jean-paul patrick on August 19, 2013 19:26


Perhaps these felons shouldn't be allowed to work in the tourist business until they have proven themselves trust worthy. You can imagine the advert for situations vacant. Just out of nick, violent thug, drug abuse issue? Come and represent Phuket tourism on Patong beach. Laughable. Is it not?

Posted by gee on August 19, 2013 19:44


Lectures wont help some of the jet ski thugs change their tune, real action needs to be taken such as banning the next operators caught doing the scam so that others can learn from this example.

Posted by Glassy on August 19, 2013 20:16


Police volunteers already do help with solving disputes.
The problem is that no tourists are aware of that after the posters with volunteer phone numbers and languages has been removed.

Posted by Sherlock on August 19, 2013 20:39


I hope they remove all possible water scooters and parachutes at Kata, Karon and Patong, Saturday so I beatch boys hit two old peopel on Kata for they went slowly, these people that have commercial down on the beach has NO respect for the tourists, they take about 200 to 300 meters of the beach every day and chase away people every day.And where are the Police???

Posted by Bjorn Ronnningen on August 19, 2013 21:24


Maybe the volunteer mediation team should consist of seasoned prison wardens as they know their rascals best.

Posted by Lena on August 19, 2013 21:52


The positive thing here is that they apparently want to keep the police away. An excellent sign that the police does not help them anymore in the way they'd like.

Posted by stevenl on August 20, 2013 12:20


Russian tour guides asking commission and charging 2,000 baht in naka ? I go there often and never seen any of this. Tourists getting off the boat are immediately approached by jet skis operators. I have never seen a russian middle man dealing for them.
(moderated) Nothing has changed even with supposed to be insurance cover. Nothing.

Posted by chris on August 20, 2013 12:54


@ Lena - good idea, but the problem is that a very few local prison wardens speaks German, Russian e.t.c.

Posted by Sherlock on August 20, 2013 14:04


@ chris - there has been cases in which the operators feel that if more people are involved in a claim, then there will a less part of the booty to themselves.

Posted by Sherlock on August 20, 2013 14:09

Monday June 24, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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