Safety push for tougher jet ski insurance, licensing rules

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

A leading public safety advocate says it should be mandatory for Victorian
jet ski riders to take out third-party insurance so they can cover the medical
bills of people they injure.

Dimi Ioannou, a public safety lawyer at Maurice Blackburn, also believes
practical testing should be introduced as part of personal watercraft licensing
“As the use of jet skis grows in popularity,
we need to remember these are powerful machines that can be very dangerous in
the wrong hands,” Ms Ioannou said.
“We believe all
jet ski operators should be required to have third-party insurance to pay for
the medical costs if they injure someone else in the water.”
“Without third-party insurance cover, people injured
by a jet ski can be left hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket.”
Ms Ioannou also called for practical testing to be
included in licensing requirements, as recommended by a 2014 parliamentary
inquiry into marine safety.
inquiry found that Victoria was the only Australian state without a practical
assessment in its recreational licensing process.
“Jet skis can weigh hundreds of kilograms
and travel as fast as cars. But to add a personal watercraft endorsement to a
marine licence, all that’s involved is a multiple choice test.”
Ms Ioannou said jet skis were a great way to
enjoy Victoria’s coast, but when used unsafely, the consequences could be
“I’m currently representing a young man who
was seriously injured when the jet ski he was a passenger on collided with
another jet ski following a dangerous wake jump.
“Our client was a young man who had just
finished high school and was about to start an exciting new chapter of life at
“Instead, the jet ski collision left him
with serious injuries, including a broken kneecap and leg bone, forced him to
defer his studies and limited his ability to find work.”
Jet ski use in Victoria has soared over the
past decade, with personal watercraft registrations doubling from 10,000 in
2008-09, to more than 23,000 in 2018/19.
A 2017 Monash University
report on Victorian maritime injury statistics found that powered watercraft
such as jet skis were the most common vessel involved in injuries that resulted
in hospital admission.
/Public Release.