There are 286 registered jet-ski on the island, operating across six beaches. The majority of these – 170 – are based at Patong Beach.
Phuket Harbour Office official Nachapong Pranit said jet-ski staff, who helped train and educate tourists how to use the jet-skis but were not official operators, needed to be aged 18 or over, and hold a jet-ski driver licence.
A worker at one of the booths said, “We always keep an eye out on our customers when they get onto a jetski. When they are going out of the zone we blow a whistle, and wave a flag at them to signal them to come back.
“We explain to the customers what these signs and signals mean before they sign the contract to hire a jetski.
Vice President of the Patong Jet-ski Club, Nucha Petchwimol, said customers who were unsure or nervous about riding a jet-ski could ride along with a staff member.
“Then they don’t have to worry about insurance or crashing, because they will have our staff with them.”
At the booth, Gov Maitree requested a staff member named “Seu” to explain in English to the media and other tourists around about the rules and contracts when hiring a jet-ski. He showed the price list, contracts and gave information about the regulations when driving one. Contracts are written in three different languages: Chinese, Russian and English.
Gov Maitree said officials from the Phuket Harbour Office would soon set up the buoys on Patong Beach to distinguish between the area earmarked for swimming, and the one for jet-skis.
Gov Maitree said tourists in trouble swimming were often rescued by jet-ski operators, and he asked those working on Patong Beach to keep a record of the number of people they assisted in the water.