Death of Young Girl by Jet Ski in Mission Bay Brings Calls for Crackdown on Unlicensed Watercraft

by on August 23, 2023 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

By David Garrick / San Diego Union-Tribune / Aug. 22, 2023

Community leaders are calling for more aggressive efforts to crack down on illegal rentals in Mission Bay of recreational water vehicles commonly known by the brand name Jet Ski, after a 12-year-old girl on a paddle board was run over and killed three weeks ago by a person driving one. Those efforts could include undercover sting operations, stiffer fines and having police join ongoing efforts by San Diego lifeguards to cite reckless riders and impound Jet Skis rented from unlicensed companies or individuals.

Lifeguards say they are open to new strategies, but plan for now to stick with their current efforts. In addition to citations and impounds, those include warning people about the dangers of using websites to rent from unlicensed operators. In contrast to rental companies licensed by the city, unlicensed operators aren’t required to explain safety protocols or how to avoid hazards in the bay. They also often lack the insurance required for licensed operators and don’t have rescue boats.

Neighborhood leaders and owners of Mission Bay businesses say lifeguards and police have dramatically reduced illegal JetSki activity since it ramped up during the pandemic, but they also say more aggressive efforts would be welcome.

Part of the problem is that some local owners of the water vehicles, many of them unlicensed, have begun renting them through the AirBnB-style website, said Jim McCoy, owner of Adventure Water Sports near De Anza Cove.

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