As summer approaches, a new police jet ski squadron will be out in force to prioritise and improve marine safety across the state’s waterways.
The NSW Police Marine Area Commander, Superintendent Mark Hutchings, was joined today (Thursday 8 November 2018) by Minister for Police Troy Grant, and NSW Maritime Services, to unveil 14 new jet skis which will be used by the new Marine Enforcement Team (MET).
The MET is a dedicated mobile response unit that will be deployed to reduce marine-related crime and ensure safer waterways across NSW.
The team will be comprised of officers from the Marine Area Command and will be primarily located within the Sydney Metropolitan area, as well as Newcastle and Port Stephens, during the boating season.
The MET will also have capabilities to deploy into waterways across the state when required.
Marine Area Commander Superintendent Mark Hutchings said the Marine Enforcement Team is an additional resource that will allow officers to focus on proactive policing.
“With summer only a few weeks away, and the hot weather already here, these new jet skis will boost the capability of officers to target those that commit dangerous or anti-social activity on our waterways,” said Supt Hutchings.
“The Marine Enforcement Team is a specialist unit within the Marine Area Command and will be conducting regular, planned and high-visibility police operations throughout the warmer months.
“Police will be on the water throughout the season to enforce maritime laws, conduct random breath and drug tests, carry out safety checks on vessels, check boat licences, and ensure any other jet ski riders enjoy the sport safely,” Supt Hutchings said.
Minister for Police Troy Grant said people should be able to head out on NSW waterways and enjoy their day without hoons and trouble makers causing problems; that is why the NSW Government has invested more than $140,000 in 14 new jet skis for the Marine Area Command.
“With Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year around the corner, the jet ski squad will be launching major enforcement and crowd control operations during the busiest period on our waterways,” said Mr Grant.
“The versatility of the jet ski team will also greatly enhance the Marine Area Command’s ability to rapidly respond and deploy to incidents on the water and contain anti-social and dangerous behaviour.”
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said the additional funding would allow Police to continue their proactive approach to targeting anti-social behaviour on our waterways.
“The number of jet ski registrations continues to grow at around 10 per cent per year which represents the fastest growing segment of the industry,” Mrs Pavey said.
“While the vast majority of riders use their craft in a responsible manner, personal watercraft continue to be over represented in serious injuries and complaints as a result of dangerous use and anti-social behaviour.”
Executive Director of Maritime Services Angus Mitchell said additional jet skis would help complement Roads and Maritime Boating Safety Officers with patrolling NSW waterways.
“In the last two years it has been a whole government approach when it comes to improving waterway safety. This has included co-location in many areas, joint patrols, sharing of assets and sharing of intelligence.”
Throughout the warmer months, police will be focusing on safe and responsible boating, and monitoring any reckless or dangerous behaviour taking place on or near the water.
The NSW Police Force will continue to work with a variety of agencies including Transport for NSW throughout the summer months to develop and implement strategies that will reduce risk to the community.