If you follow the dictates of common sense and the rules that are
summarized below, you should have a good and safe time with these
unique and exciting watercraft. The first thing to remember is that
Jet Skis can be legally operated at only five beaches in Phuket:
Patong, Karon, Kata, Kamala, and Bangtao. This shouldn't be an inconvenience
for anyone as these are the most popular beaches on the island.
Even if someone has what looks like a Jet Ski concession at another
beach, don't rent from them. You risk a substantial fine and possible
Before renting any Jet Ski, check to see that it is licensed. The
license numbers should be prominently displayed on both sides of
the bow. Licensing is Phuket's way of controlling Jet Ski vendors.
If you rent an unlicensed Jet Ski, you not only run the risk of
dealing with an unreliable vendor, you make it difficult for Phuket
authorities to control those who rent Jet Skis.
Anyone operating a Jet Ski in Phuket is required by law to hold
documents indicating they are "Second Class Helmsmen of Power
Driven Sea-going Vessels." This is obviously a requirement
that is difficult to fulfill and one that is rarely checked by either
those who rent Jet Skis or the authorities. Unfortunately, the only
time it becomes important is if the person on the Jet Ski has an
accident. The penalty for operating a Jet Ski without this documentation
can be a fine of up to 10,000 baht or even imprisonment.
If you don't have this documentation, you can still enjoy riding
a Jet Ski by going along as a passenger. The vendor will drive the
craft and you sit behind as a passenger.
Common sense indicates that you should wear a life vest when riding
a Jet Ski and this is the law in Phuket. In addition the life vest
must have a whistle "securely fastened by a line to a convenient
spot on the front of the jacket."
There are several regulations concerning how Jet Skis should be
operated in Phuket waters that should be observed by those renting
the craft. Failure to observe these rules can result in a fine.
Jet Skis shouldn't be driven faster "than the conditions warrant,"
and operators should stay within 500 meters of the coastline. There
is also a requirement that Jet Skis be operated only "when
seas are calm." If the red flag is up, indicating that it is
not safe to swim, it is also a time when you shouldn't be operating
a Jet Ski.
A very important regulation is that Jet Skis aren't allowed in
areas designated for swimming only. These areas are easy to distinguish
as they are delineated by floats connected with a rope. Keep your
Jet Ski out of these areas!
When you rent a Jet Ski, be sure you have established the price
with the vendor before using the machine. If you have a conflict
over your Jet Ski, call the Tourist Police at 219-878. If it is
an emergency, call 1699.
The rules and possible problems concerning Jet Skis look formidable.
However, if you use common sense and follow the rules, you should
have a good time.