Jet-skiers could face up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine if they put others at risk following a consultation to clampdown on users.
It comes as the Department of Transport has proposed an end to a legal loophole that allows jet-skis to operate outwith maritime law to protect the public and local wildlife from dangerous driving.
The new law would see jet-skis and other recreational vehicles such as speedboats legally treated the same as boats and ships, making users subject to national regulations.
Those who do not follow the rules could face up to two years in prison, along with an unlimited fine, if prosecuted under the proposed change to the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.
Jet-skiers could face penalties for causing danger to ships, other watercrafts or individuals using the water such a swimmers and canoeists.
What is changing and why?
Currently, councils and harbour authorities can set bylaws which require registration of jet-skis, payment of fees, zoning areas and speed limits.
However, powers for local authorities are geographically limited, resulting in many areas of the coastline not being covered by any legislation.
Jet-skiers have caused a stir with locals in Tayside over the summer months with many being described as “dangerous and reckless“.
Jet-skiers have also caused upset among visitors and locals of Broughty Ferry, with calls for more action to be taken to ensure users follow rules within the harbour and stick to the zones and speed limits.
Dundee resident Joachim Neff has spent the last two years campaigning for action to be taken against dangerous jet-skiers.
Joachim said he welcomes the proposed law and believes it will resolve the issues faced by jet-skiers at Broughty Ferry.
He said: “Given the many years local people – in and out of the water – have suffered the inconsiderate and sometimes reckless behaviour of some jet ski users, this legislation is long overdue.
“It should also force authorities to take timely and effective action against rogue jet ski users – unlike the sorry ‘giving advice’ that they have provided so far and which proved to be entirely ineffective.
“I call on all long-suffering Dundonians to submit their views via this consultation to make sure all of their voices are being heard loud and clear.”
Perth River Tay
Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region and Perth City Centre councillor Chris Ahern, have both backed the new proposal and, if they come into effect, believe it should relieve any previous concerns around jet skiers.
Both had previously called for a zoning system to be introduced in part of the River Tay to clamp down on anti-social behaviour from some jet ski users.
‘Definite need for action’
Mr Fraser said: “We welcome this proposed change in the legislation.
“We will wait for Westminster to pass it but if it does so, it will address what has been a long-standing problem in Perth and other areas of Tayside.
“A balance has to be struck between jet ski users enjoying themselves and disturbance to local residents. There is a definite need for action and this could well be it.”
Mr Ahern added: “I am glad to see the UK Government is taking seriously the issue of jet skis and the problems that a small group of them cause.
“We must remember that it is a small group that are the problem.
“The jet skiers that use the stretch of water near Perth city centre do cause an issue with noise and anti-social behaviour.
“The measures that will be put in place by adding jet skiers into the existing legislation will allow local authorities to have some control.”