Agencies join forces for jetski crackdown


NSW Maritime and NSW Police officers were out in force over the weekend for a joint operation cracking down on illegal and anti-social behaviour on jetskis across Greater Sydney and the Illawarra. 
The joint operation saw NSW Maritime and NSW Police Marine Area Command officers conduct over 1300 vessel safety checks statewide, handing out around 70 penalty notices and almost 150 official warnings. 
NSW Maritime Executive Director Mark Hutchings said that while most recreational riders are doing the right thing, there is a dangerous minority who have been clashing with residents, boaters and swimmers at popular waterways. 
“Hooning, aggression and intimidation will absolutely not be tolerated. If you want to keep your licence, follow the rules and respect other peoples’ right to a safe day on the water,” Mr Hutchings said. 
"Waterways are for everyone to enjoy, not a playground for hoons on high-powered vessels. Those who act dangerously or flout the rules face hefty fines, loss of licence and in some cases even having your vessel impounded.”  
Enforcement patrols saturated jetski hotspots over Saturday and Sunday with NSW Maritime and Marine Area Command officers on boats and jetskis on the Georges River, Botany Bay, Port Hacking, Pittwater, Brisbane Waters, the Hawkesbury and Lake Illawarra. 
The operation also saw Highway Patrol, Public Order Riot Squad, and Strike Force Raptor officers positioned at strategic land locations to target any illegal or anti-social behaviour linked to vessel owners and operators.  
Commander of Marine Area Command, Superintendent Joe McNulty, said that operations like this are necessary to ensure safety on our waterways by targeting dangerous and anti-social behaviour. 
“We are warning those with personal watercrafts that not only are they putting themselves at risk but other water users” Mr McNulty said. 
“We have some of the most picturesque waterways in the country, which also means they see a significant increase in recreational activity during warmer months, this unfortunately means potentially more boating, and water related incidents resulting in injuries or fatalities.”  
The operation followed a spate of jetski and personal watercraft incidents since the start of 2023, including eight that saw people taken to hospital for treatment, and an alleged assault on a NSW Maritime officer which is currently before the courts. 
Mr Hutchings said in the last year, NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers responded to more than 270 jetski complaints ranging from noise complaints to speeding, irregular riding, riding close to swimmers, damage to shoreline and even harassment of wildlife including whales and dolphins. 
 “It’s reckless and disrespectful and inevitably it’s going to result in more people being seriously hurt or worse,” Mr Hutchings said. 
In the last 12 months, NSW Maritime have conducted nearly 10,000 jetski vessel checks statewide, and handed out more than 1500 penalty notices and official cautions.  
Greater Sydney is home to the top three worst locations for jetski offences including George’s River with 343 counts, Botany Bay with 159 counts and Port Hacking with 149 counts. 
The top three offences across the state were speeding (30 per cent), licencing or registration (26 per cent) and irregular riding (10 per cent).  
To report dangerous or anti-social behaviour, call the NSW Maritime general enquiries line on 13 12 36.