Jet ski menace on Abu Dhabi beaches
Abu Dhabi residents are complaining about jet skis, which they claim are scaring swimmers.
Several people living in the gated apartments in Al Raha Beach complained that a woman and her baby were left terrified by noisy, aggressive jet skiers, while some Abu Dhabi hotels have had dozens of complaints.
Many point out the apparent lack of rules for jet ski use in Abu Dhabi, as opposed to the much tighter regulations in place in Dubai. On the facebook page of Al Raha Beach Apartments, resident Maria Baker said that swimmers were getting sprayed with water by a large crowd of jet skiers.
She even witnessed the jet skiers on their iPads, and “showing off to the girls” as they were speeding along. “Couldn’t believe they were spraying the swimmers, one lady and her baby were splashed. So dangerous, and I don’t want my baby to become scared of water because of these idiots,” she said. Baker said she may have to move if the situation gets worse.
Another resident, Amel Kotel, said he also saw the woman and her baby getting soaked.
“I saw the lady with the baby, really scary!”
In the Tourist Club area, several fishermen complained that their fun was being ruined by young jet skiers who come too close to the shore. “They frighten the fish away, they also stress the fish with the vibrations, which makes them less likely to bite. We don’t want them,” said Savi Singh, who said he has been shocked by the speed and carelessness of some of the jet skiers.
“I’m not saying that they are all bad, but some of them clearly enjoy bullying everyone else,” he said.
At a five-star hotel on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, there has been a host of complaints about jet skiers coming too close to the hotel guests on the beach.
On travel website Trip Advisor several guests said they loved the hotel but hated the noisy jet skiers who raced up and down.
“Jet Ski Noise Hell!” was the tagline on one comment on Monday. “Everything about the hotel was perfect! But they have no control over the noise emanating from the jet skis on the lagoon and that is a nightmare,” read another comment. “The jet skiers have driven us insane and completely destroy the serenity,” said another of the hotel’s guests last week.
Their complaints follow a long campaign to have rules introduced in Abu Dhabi. Dubai has already introduced rules. The Dubai Maritime City Authority has set speed limits on all beaches and has set up a 300m buffer zone around Dubai Marina, Umm Suqeim and Jumeirah beaches.
Abu Dhabi Municipality spokeswoman, Jema Al Muherbi, said that the Abu Dhabi government has rules controlling jet skis, but only on the two beaches it controls - the Corniche and Al Bateen.
“There is a (rope) line there - swimmers are not allowed to go past it and the jet skiers cannot go inside the line. That is the only rule, there is no speed limit for jet skiers but they must respect the line rule,” she said. The difference in rules between Abu Dhabi and Dubai is so pronounced that some jet ski companies have set up just a few feet inside the Abu Dhabi border so they can operate under Abu Dhabi rules.
One such company is Ghantoot Water Sports, which said it deliberately located just over the border so that it can attract Dubai customers. “We have an Abu Dhabi trade licence, but we are mostly for Dubai customers,” said manager Irina Anam.
“Dubai doesn’t even allow jet ski rental and the coast guard confiscates many jet skis. In Abu Dhabi, there are places to rent jet skis and it is more relaxed,” she said. Anam agreed that some young jet skiers like to show off and accepted that it can be dangerous.
“It is a very dangerous sport if you don’t train properly,” she said. “There is no brake on a jet ski, it’s not like a car. It is usually when the young guys are showing off and doing tricks that there are injuries. They are the problem.”