The Water Police Squad will have a new eye on hoons as they team up with local officers to crack down on poor jet ski behaviour on the Mornington Peninsula this summer.
Every Water Police Squad member is now equipped with a body worn camera to record video and audio of jet ski incidents and interactions with vessel operators.
The squad has been issued with specialised custom-made lifejackets that include mounting points to easily attach the devices while out on the water, marking a first for Victoria Police.
Body worn cameras not only improve community and police safety but enhance oversight of police conduct through the provision of objective audio and video evidence.
Their use is crucial in documenting critical incidents and may be used as part of an investigation or a brief of evidence supplied to the courts.
A bolstered presence on the Mornington Peninsula will see Water Police and local units unite to conduct proactive patrols – in vehicles, on foot and on the water – as well as targeted operations to ensure everyone is following the rules.
Residents and visitors can expect to see police blitz popular beaches to spot dangerous operators, as well as flood boat ramps to conduct breath tests, licence checks and vessel inspections.
Every summer police see an increase in unruly and unsafe jet ski behaviour, with many caught travelling too close to swimmers and vessels, exceeding speed restrictions and not wearing a lifejacket despite it being mandatory at all times.
So far this summer, police have issued more than 200 infringement notices to jet ski riders committing offences on the water.
The number of jet ski incidents resulting in injury is of particular concern, with police responding to a number of vessels colliding at high speed, as well as operators and passengers falling from their vessels and ending their day in hospital.
Police won’t hesitate to remove impaired or unsafe jet ski operators from the water, with anyone caught flouting the rules to face significant fines.
It includes fines of up to $380 for travelling at more than five knots within 50m of a vessel or swimmer, travelling at more than five knots within 200m of shore, as well as for operating in no-boating zones.
Those caught using an unregistered vessel or operating unlicensed face fines of up to $925.
Police also have the power to take away a jet ski operator’s licence and seize their vessel if they’re putting other water users in danger. This includes penalties of up to $43,381 or imprisonment for two years.
The newly-formed Small Boat Team, launched as part of the Water Police Squad, will also boost enforcement efforts against anyone who thinks it’s okay to flout the rules.
The team will be using a mix of jet skis and inflatable rescue boats to respond to search and rescue incidents on the water and target operators putting others at risk.
On top of this, special strike teams are regularly deployed to key waters to target anti-social behaviour and offences.
Victoria Police News – Wednesday 31 January 2024