Focus on jet ski hoons as police use body cams in Peninsula carckdown

The Water Police Squad will have a new eye on hoons as they team up with local officers to crack down on poor jet ski behaviour on the Mornington Peninsula this summer.

Every Water Police Squad member is now equipped with a body worn camera to record video and audio of jet ski incidents and interactions with vessel operators.

The squad has been issued with specialised custom-made lifejackets that include mounting points to easily attach the devices while out on the water, marking a first for Victoria Police.

Body worn cameras not only improve community and police safety but enhance oversight of police conduct through the provision of objective audio and video evidence.

Their use is crucial in documenting critical incidents and may be used as part of an investigation or a brief of evidence supplied to the courts.

A bolstered presence on the Mornington Peninsula will see Water Police and local units unite to conduct proactive patrols – in vehicles, on foot and on the water – as well as targeted operations to ensure everyone is following the rules.

Residents and visitors can expect to see police blitz popular beaches to spot dangerous operators, as well as flood boat ramps to conduct breath tests, licence checks and vessel inspections.

Every summer police see an increase in unruly and unsafe jet ski behaviour, with many caught travelling too close to swimmers and vessels, exceeding speed restrictions and not wearing a lifejacket despite it being mandatory at all times.

So far this summer, police have issued more than 200 infringement notices to jet ski riders committing offences on the water.

The number of jet ski incidents resulting in injury is of particular concern, with police responding to a number of vessels colliding at high speed, as well as operators and passengers falling from their vessels and ending their day in hospital.

Police won’t hesitate to remove impaired or unsafe jet ski operators from the water, with anyone caught flouting the rules to face significant fines.

It includes fines of up to $380 for travelling at more than five knots within 50m of a vessel or swimmer, travelling at more than five knots within 200m of shore, as well as for operating in no-boating zones.

Those caught using an unregistered vessel or operating unlicensed face fines of up to $925.

Police also have the power to take away a jet ski operator’s licence and seize their vessel if they’re putting other water users in danger. This includes penalties of up to $43,381 or imprisonment for two years.

The newly-formed Small Boat Team, launched as part of the Water Police Squad, will also boost enforcement efforts against anyone who thinks it’s okay to flout the rules.

The team will be using a mix of jet skis and inflatable rescue boats to respond to search and rescue incidents on the water and target operators putting others at risk.

On top of this, special strike teams are regularly deployed to key waters to target anti-social behaviour and offences.

Attributable to Water Police Squad Acting Inspector Lynden Blackley

“Water Police will be out in force with local officers throughout the entire summer to make sure everyone is doing their part in keeping the water safe.

“We’ve already seen far too many concerning jet ski incidents this year, resulting in operators and their passengers injuring themselves and ending their day in hospital.

“It’s also quite disappointing to see many jet ski operators travelling way too close to other vessels and swimmers, approaching shore at high speed or failing to follow such simple measures like wearing a lifejacket – which is mandatory and can save your life.

“People need to remember jet skis are not toys – they are powerful vessels and can be extremely dangerous if the operator has no control.

“Jet ski operators need to know the rules and adhere to them – if you don’t you will be held to account. So please help us out and make smart decisions out on the water this summer.”

Attributable to Southern Metro Region Superintendent Fiona Bock

“We want everyone to enjoy our waters on the Mornington Peninsula this summer – but we want them to do it safely.

“That’s why we’re teaming up with Water Police to ensure our presence is highly visible and target those putting others at risk.

“We’ll be carrying out patrols and tasked to various beaches to ensure jet ski operators are adhering to the rules.

“Victorians can rest assured they will continue to see local units and Water Police out in force on the Mornington Peninsula throughout the entire summer to ensure safety.”

/Public Release. View in full here.