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Jet-skis here to stay: The book 'Phuket' published in 1985 depicts this tourism pioneer  riding a ''water scooter'' in a ''moment of fun'' at Patong beach.

Phuket's Jet-Ski Problems Won't be Solved with a Simple-Minded Ban

Sunday, September 8, 2013
Brave Enough to Change Phuket

PHUKET: It's amazing how intelligent people still suggest that the simple solution to Phuket's jet-ski problem is to ban them all.

These same people never offer a single idea on how a ban is going to be achieved. How, for example, the people who own the jet-skis or have jet-ski related jobs are going to react.

Simple solutions are for the simple-minded. When it comes to jet-skis on Phuket, it's too late to consider a total ban.

The concept of a gradual phase-out, leading to their eventual obliteration after seven years, was a good idea when proposed in 2003.

However, Phuket's authorities failed to keep their promises.

The present team in charge of Phuket cannot even keep jet-skis off beaches where they are not supposed to be, as visitors to Surin and Laem Singh soon discover.

We agree that jet-skis shouldn't be there. But we're not so simple-minded as to suggest they could and should be banned without a sensible strategy.

Nor would we argue that the injuries and the hassles caused by jet-skis are caused by the operators. In most cases, the tourists are to blame for their own misfortunes.

Anyone seriously worried about the health and welfare of tourists on Phuket should first be advocating prevention of needless drownings and motorcycle crashes.

These are the main reasons why too many tourists are killed and maimed on Phuket.

Next month, the British Embassy is backing a Coastal Water Safety Summit, aimed at achieving a Safer Phuket.

Phuketwan supports the summit and hopes that, as well as dealing with the obvious need to cut swimming deaths on the beaches and on snorkelling day-trips, the talk also turns to jet-skis.

With Phuket's Marine 5 officials unable or unwilling to enforce standards among jet-ski operators, it's time for the creation of an independent Phuket Beach Authority to be seriously considered.

And if Thai law can be bent on Phuket to allow jet-skis to operate as they do, despite regulations banning their use, then Thai law can be bent to allow the the Royal Thai Navy to patrol the beaches.

Novel and radical solutions are required to Phuket's problems, not the resurrection of failed ideas, or simple-minded thinking.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Who the hell is this guy??? Another " rose colored glasses" wannabe? The day that a hand full of "thugs" and ex-cons dictate to a government what the safety and security policies for Marine operations is that day that ALL reason goes out the window. "how can they be banned" what a joke :) Same way you ban other criminal arrest them and confiscate the Jet Skis! My god these Jet Skis have been the bane of Phuket's future since day 1 and if they cannot be dealt with then the whole system is F***ed. You mean to tell me that there is NO one in all the governing bodies of Thailand that cannot handle a few Jet Ski touts? Then the whole DSI scam is just that.
You may call it "doom Sayers" " fear mongers"...whatever I call it the way I see it and after 20 years on this island to hear this drivel is like icing on the S**t cake. what a joke

Posted by Tom on September 8, 2013 10:32


Many things got banned: Smoking in Restaurants and public buildings, new motorbikes can't have a carburator, certain chemicals for AC's got banned and many, many others. For sure, for a short time there would be an uproar but than it would be done. Fact is, that nobody from the official site wants this ban, as again too much cash is changing pockets... Would be interesting to know how many Jet Ski operators operate legally as a registered business and pay taxes and contributions to the social security.

Posted by Resident on September 8, 2013 10:46


There is no compromise to give to those people as they clearly don't care of their customers, ripping off is their game. Phuket Marine Region 5 office is part of this game otherwise if the law would have been respected none of the jet ski would be on the beach today. So if authorities lack of balls applying the law, the best way is to foreign embassies, airlines, announce and distribute warning to tourists, making jet skis operators running out of business and die from their own death.

Posted by jean-paul patrick on September 8, 2013 11:06


They banned smoking on airplanes. That effected millions of people. They are now trying to ban the electric cigarettes. They are starting to ban animal testing everywhere. But they can not ban 200 plus jet skis. What a sob story. I wonder if it would be possible to ban them if they would be owned and operated by foreigners....

Posted by Charles on September 8, 2013 16:46


Hold accountable the people who were responsible for the 7 year phase out failed. They should be Phased out. Give the Jet Ski mafia (Keesin's terminology) 1 year extra for phase out.

Posted by Tbs on September 8, 2013 16:49


the time for compromise and "discussion" is over. Its well overdue for the authorities to show just who is the authority.
Time to get tough. Ban jetskis. Demand that tuk tuks and taxis have meters, and at a sensible rate. Demolish illegal beachfront developments, and the hi-so dwellings above the 80m legal height. For GOD'S SAKE: impose THE LAW!

Posted by jimbo on September 8, 2013 18:54


Sure, this correspondent never seen jet-ski operator face to face or missed completely all stories about their scams and crimes or may be this article was sponsored by jet ski pr manager.

Posted by Stranger on September 8, 2013 19:32

Editor Comment:

I'm not sure whether there's some point you are trying to make, Stranger, but if you do a search of Phuketwan, you'll find plenty of photos of confrontations on Patong beach. We've never seen you there, though.


Tomorrow & tomorrow & tomorrow - but tomorrow never comes.

I got curious & Googled it; comes from Shakespeare's Macbeth. It is contained in Macbeth's final soliloquy in which the audience sees his final conclusion about life:

"it is devoid of any meaning, full of contrived struggles"

Sound familiar?

Posted by Logic on September 8, 2013 20:17

Editor Comment:

Read the whole play, Logic. Not a mention of a jet-ski.


@Tom -You have summed the situation up perfectly!! this article is a complete joke! As for "Anyone seriously worried about the health and welfare of tourists on Phuket should first be advocating prevention of needless drownings and motorcycle crashes" why first, why not simultaneously, why is it either/or? life is a life.

Posted by terry on September 9, 2013 01:14

Editor Comment:

That depends, larry, on whether your aim is to save lives or prevent scams. More than 24 people have drowned at Phuket's beaches so far this year. Jet-ski deaths are rare. It's sad that some people can't see that saving lives should be the priority. Scams continue, but not at the same frequency or cost of a couple of years ago.


The 30 day time frame has passed and no word from the DSI. They have failed to do what they said they would. No surprise there. Doomsayers 3, suckers 0.

Posted by gee on September 9, 2013 06:44


@ Gee
You mean it's not:
"Phuket Doomsayers Crushed as Dreams Come True for a Bright Phuket Future"?

Posted by smik on September 9, 2013 07:05

Editor Comment:

smirk, Doomsayers have never had it so good. Phuket's future has never looked brighter.


@ed "Scams continue, but not at the same frequency or cost of a couple of years ago" - what evidence do you have to support that statement. I've lived on this island for 15 years, when i arrived scams were virtually non existent, as i see it they have become more prevalent year on year, hence the arrival of the DSI - and still they continue.

Posted by terry on September 9, 2013 08:54

Editor Comment:

terry, you seem to be suffering from a peculiar Phuket ailment: the desire for things to grow worse rather than better. Over the past few years, we've reported cases of jet-ski issues that have been drawn to our attention by those brave enough to make a telephone call or send an email. We get emails or telephone calls with less frequency these days. Essentially most of the haggling lately comes down to the 16,000 baht for time out of the water. This is an improvement from two years ago, when vast sums were involved. Closer scrutiny by Chinese and Australian envoys especially has helped. There are other scams, of course. ATM scams are mostly expat on expat.


ED - Doomsayers have never had it so good. Phuket's future has never looked brighter.?

Which one is it? You can't have both.

Posted by smik on September 9, 2013 08:57

Editor Comment:

Of course you can. The only non-believers are the Doomsayers.


ED - "Of course you can. The only non-believers are the Doomsayers."

You've completely lost me now...

Posted by smik on September 9, 2013 09:40


Ed; do you honestly think a 'Beach Authority' would handle things any differently from the existing authorities?

If yes, what way? Would they not be subjected to bribes and corruption as it is now?

There are already far too many administrative bodies on Phuket and I suspect another one will result in more residents complaining that they are now having to pay over to yet another set to line their pockets.

You can impose a ban; you just need to follow the rule of law. Unfortunately no Thai official appears to care about such laws and will flout them at any opportunity for personal financial gain.

With the DSI coming here there was hope but if they can't even uncover the basics what chance does Phuket have?

BTW... any interest on the sale of PW? Send me through the details I have a few contacts that might be interested.

Posted by Graham on September 9, 2013 11:46

Editor Comment:

The present arrangement fails to protect tourists from drowning and fails to protect or maintain the beaches and their environment. This is because the money made on the beaches goes into private pockets. An independent Phuket Beach Authority is needed to provide consistency and save Phuket's beaches for future generations.

Jet-skis have been on Phuket beaches for at least 30 years. Controlling them is now the only option. To advocate a phase-out that didn't work the first time simply shows a lack of ideas.

A Phuket Beach Authority administered with the help of the Royal Thai Navy would stand a chance.


I was a mediator in a few hot negotiations between our guests and jet ski criminals. Never seen your correspondents as well. Please, inform me for next time, how to get your attention before guest's or my life is threatend or negotiations finished (nomarally within 10-15 minutes as I arrive to the beach or to police station)?

Posted by Stranger on September 10, 2013 13:09

Editor Comment:

Do you think the jet-ski operators or the police give us a call when there's a dispute? Difficult for the media to report what they're not told about.

Thursday May 13, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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