For the last 7 years I have enjoyed holidaying in Pattaya several times each year, and during the festival occasions, including the New Year Songkran water capers. While this is an occasion of great fun for the local people, with many foreign tourists joining in, some people on holidays, as expected, do over-indulge in alcohol, and while this is generally harmless, accidents can happen.
On Wednesday 18 April I had beachfront chairs about 100 metres south of the music & foam stage in Pattaya, where the ocean was occupied all along by hundreds of young swimmers, unprotected from any wayward jet ski, by any barrier there, for swimmers only.
In front of me were two very intoxicated young males of perhaps Indian appearance, lying fully clothed with shoes on, in the water, and unable to stand up or walk straight. They staggered to a moored jet ski, tried to mount it, then removed the life jackets.
They then spoke to the lady in charge of jet skis, seemingly to hire it, and at this stage I intervened to say they were too drunk and an accident could happen to swimmers which I would report. The lady agreed. An older colleague of the two drunken foreigners also seemed to discourage the two young foreigners without success, as they then managed to hire two jet skis to self drive from another Thai male jet ski hirer.
Details of the hirers seemed to be recorded by the hirer, but I doubt they had jet ski experience. From watching them on-shore their older colleague on shore also looked anxious, and also the boats’ hirer. When they were coming back in about 15 minutes later on their return one of the drivers passed me and I said, “Well Done, you did not kill anyone,” – No reply from him!
My point in writing this letter to your paper is intended to be as a warning that drunk patrons do not intend any damage, and while chances of accidents may be slim, they can and do happen.
In Australia severe licensing restrictions would prevent operators hiring as above, with severe penalties for both hirers and users breaking the law, and in the case of a serious accident, possible jail term.
Thailand is very friendly and tolerant of excess behaviour by foreign tourists, but operators should take care for their own citizens too, to avoid accidents. My view is the male operator who hired the jet skis to the two drunken foreigners, should have his rights, or license to hire, reviewed or suspended.
Also, if a serious accident had occurred who would (or could) pay compensation to victims of a serious accident?
I hope you find the info herein of interest for a news article even if only to protect innocent swimmers. I do note the jet ski operators boat crew themselves are good drivers, not necessary the customers.