PHUKET: As the high season gets underway, authorities are keeping a close watch on jet-ski rental businesses operating on west coast beaches to ensure compliance with provincial regulations. Vice Governor Amnuay Sanguannam is overseeing the joint enforcement efforts of district, harbor, marine and police officials. Weekly reports are being filed by the various departments with the vice governor’s office in an effort to monitor compliance. As of November 30, a total of 53 agents have been registered to engage in the rental of jet-skis, while another 44 have applications pending approval. The 53 registered agents are licensed to rent out a total of 87 jet-skis. Of the five western beaches approved for the water sport activity, Patong has the highest concentration of agents and jet-skis, with 31 operators and 44 machines. Kata and Karon beaches have a combined total of 14 approved agents leasing 29 jet-skis; Kamala Beach, one agent and four jet-skis; and Bangtao Beach, seven operators and ten jet-skis. All licensed rental agents are required to wear government-supplied, numbered vests for easy identification. Registered operators at Patong and Kamala beaches wear green ones, while agents at Kata-Karon and Bangtao beaches must don white and yellow vests, respectively. Operators who fail to comply with safety and operating regulations set forth by the provincial government face fines of up to 10,000 baht. Authorities are looking into reports that jet-ski rental agents have been operating illegally on the beaches of two offshore islands – Koh Hae and Koh Khai. Provincial regulations restrict rentals to the five Phuket Island beaches mentioned above.
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