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Posted On: 1 August 2008 10:24 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:08 pm

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Khalifa Al Haroon
Khalifa Al Haroon
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari
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AS the temperature begins to drop slightly at around half past five each evening, the noise of jet ski engines can be heard at a number of Doha’s marinas along the Corniche, as well as West Bay lagoon, as jet-skiers perform tricks to a mixed response from onlookers. Along the strip of water leading past the Diplomatic Club towards the West Bay lagoon, many people gather to watch the jet-skiers show off their stunts. However, not everyone appreciates the performance of the youths on their powerful machines, and many worry for their safety. “What they are doing looks very dangerous,” said one expatriate walking on the Corniche. She found the noise of the jet-skiers particularly annoying. One jet ski owner explained that people who operate the machines need to register at the main Doha Port coastguard office when they first buy their jet skis, at which point they are provided a number and sticker to prove they are registered users. “If you get asked by a coastguard, you need to provide them with your number and name and they can verify whether you are allowed to be driving the jet ski,” he explained. A number of expatriates have lauded recent restrictions imposed at Al Safliya Island where buoys have been placed alongside a coastguard presence at the weekend to prevent jet-skiers from coming too close to the beach. However, the skiers continue to annoy people, and one visitor to the island yesterday evening said that he had been bothered by the “reckless youths, who don’t seem to care for their or anyone else’s safety.” Many view them as a nuisance, and a security guard at West Bay lagoon described how many riders attempt to get inside the area which is restricted to residents and guests. “There are between 20 and 50 jet skis here every day,” he said, adding “when we open the gate for boats, many try to rush inside. However, if any do get in, I call the coastguard who comes to take them out again.” A resident of the lagoon, Iain Kennedy, said that a major danger of the machines was driving them at night. “Every single manual for jet skis explains they should never be operated at night – however people race them around the lagoon in the dark which is seriously dangerous.” “They also affect people swimming during the day, and annoy boats by trying to splash them,” he said, adding “they often chase waterskiers or wakeboarders which is also really dangerous.” “I think there should be increased coastguard presence, and some sort of screening process before people can own or rent a jet ski,” he argued, claiming that at least a basic knowledge of acceptable and safe behaviour is necessary. Kennedy described one head-on collision he had seen, and referred to many others he has heard about, pointing out the serious consequences that this recklessness can cause. People just want something to do and need some fun so people complain. There are x-game experts, skateboarders, motocross champions, and nobody goes on complaining about them. These guys are enjoying their Jet-skiis and they should be free to do that! Some people in Qatar just want to live a quiet life full of bordom. Fine. Go to another city and do that.