The capability of SAPOL’s Water Operations Unit has been boosted with the addition of two new jet skis ahead of summer.
The jet skis were unveiled at Thebarton Police Barracks on Tuesday following a targeted operation in the Riverland last Friday, which saw expiation notices issued to a number of unlicensed boat operators.
Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services Vincent Tarzia said police officers would patrol the River Murray, beaches and other waterways to ensure the safety of South Australians.
“Friday’s results continue to show this added capability is needed and sends a clear message that the Marshall Liberal Government is serious about water safety,” Minister Tarzia said.
“The jet skis will be utilised to complete safety checks on boats and other water vehicles as a preventive measure, which will be vital over the coming summer.
“The addition of this new increased capability also gives police officers greater agility during water emergencies.
“These jet skis are fast and manoeuvrable, meaning they can be used at the beach in wave conditions to perform surf rescues.
They also operate at a high standard in shallow water and can reach difficult places that SAPOL’s current fleet cannot.”
On Friday, police officers from the Water Operations Unit patrolled the River Murray between Morgan and Blanchetown. One ski boat and 12 jet skis were checked.
Two expiations were issued for the operation of a jet ski without a boat licence.
In the 2019/20 financial year, SAPOL recorded 316 marine-related incidents with 6 water rescues and issued 152 expiation notices.
“We know South Australians love to spend time in the water over the summer period. We want them to do so, but in a safe way that ensures people always make it home to their families,” Minister Tarzia said.
During their deployment, the jet skis will be used to target people who put themselves and others at risk by using boats and other water vessels illegally. Random breath and drug tests will also be carried out.