Jet skiers are headed for disaster
A BUNDABERG man says weekends and public holidays at Elliott Heads could end badly, with jet ski riders getting too close to swimmers and boarders.
Michael Corrigan was enjoying stand up paddle (SUP) boarding with a group of friends on Australia Day at the northern mouth of the river when he witnessed three or four jet skis weaving in and around families swimming.
"A frustrated lifesaver was trying to move them on with friendly negotiation but was mostly being ignored,” he said.
"My concerns are that there is only a matter of time before there is going to be an accident at Elliott Heads.”
The SUP boarder said about 100 people packed on to the beach, with the mix of swimmers and jet ski riders creating the perfect mix for disaster.
He said a designated area for jet skiers, situated on the southern side of the Elliott River mouth, plus proper signage would create a safer environment for swimmers and boarders.
"There were no idiots down there on Australia Day but when you have powered water craft and people, it is always going to be something that might happen,” he said.
"All it takes is for you to be going along on your jet ski, looking back at the person on your tube and a SUP boarder appearing in front of you, then bang.”
"Keeping jet skis out of the populated swimming area completely would solve that problem.”
Mr Corrigan's concerns come after a nine-year-old boy's life ended when his father, Shane Michael Parkes, ploughed into him on a jet ski.
The tragedy happened on a Mount Isa lake in November last year, with the 34-year-old man charged recently with a string of offences including drug driving and unlicensed driving.
Mr Corrigan said there were specific rules in place for jet ski riders that some simply turned a blind eye to.
"If a jet ski is passing a SUP board or canoe, it has to slow to six knots but most of them don't, they just scream past you,” he said.
"Out the front of Elliott Heads you often see jet skiers screaming along but it is actually a go-slow zone according to Queensland Parks and Wildlife.”
Mr Corrigan said he was interested to hear if other visitors to Elliott Heads had experienced any close calls with jet ski riders and urged relevant government bodies to think about establishing a designated area.
"I hope common sense prevails,” he said.