Strong Opposition Towards St Vincent & the Grenadines Lifting Jet Ski Ban



Release Date

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Although covered under the Power Craft Act, the importation of jet skis is currently prohibited under the Supplies Control Act. But the latest attempt to lift the ban is expected to meet with the same strong resistance as it did four years ago.

Some stakeholders are questioning the move in light of other countries' efforts to reduce the number of personal watercrafts (PWC) in their jurisdictions and the negative impact on their tourism product.

"We've put a feeder out to everybody [to] give a feedback, what they think, and then I will make a statement based on that,"ÔøΩ said Kim Halbich, president of the HTA.

But John West, President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Recreational Marine Association (SVGRMA), said the entire membership of his group "strongly supports that there be no legislative changes for the benefit of all that could be affected, our tourism industry and environment."ÔøΩ

The SVGRMA's position was outlined in a letter on Tuesday to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism that same day outlining his group's position on the move.

The Ministry of Tourism, in a letter sent to the Bequia Tourism Association said it was "considering the introduction of jet skis as a water sport activity and also to facilitate patrol of the waters throughout the destination"ÔøΩ.

The ministry said it "is cognizant of the importance of collaborating with stakeholders to ensure that all the necessary parameters are established for the smooth and safe operation of this craft"ÔøΩ.

It encouraged feedback or recommendations with respect to the introduction of this craft, inclusive of designated beaches, speed limit "ÔøΩ operational distance from the shore, and safety guidelines.

West, in his response said jet skis "are simply bad for the environment, bad for those wanting to safely swim, snorkel and dive in our waters and enjoy the peace and quiet of our beaches and anchorages.

"They are dangerous and statistically account for in excess of three times more than other types of serious accidents and deaths of users of powered water crafts."ÔøΩ

He said that even in destinations with strict legislation and actual enforcement of those laws, accidents and fatalities occur.

Meanwhile, Sally Erdle, the editor of Caribbean Compass Publishing, a yachting magazine ÔøΩ- said "The introduction of jet skis presents not only a high risk of negative environmental impact and physical injury to persons, but in terms of tourism it also threatens the alienation of the high-priority yachting market segment.


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