Jet Ski operators’ business so far unaffected by U.S. Embassy warning
Jet Ski operators have been largely unaffected by a warning issued through the United States Embassy in Nassau urging visitors not to use their services, but they are worried that continued warnings will eventually cause their operations to tank.
As the spring break season began, the U.S. Embassy issued a warning to American visitors to steer clear of Jet Ski operators in New Providence, which it said are unregulated and “continue to commit sexual assaults and other crimes against tourists, including U.S. citizens”.
In its travel warning the embassy said, “U.S. Embassy personnel are instructed not to use Jet Ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Island, including Cabbage Beach and Cable Beach.
“We strongly recommend you also avoid patronizing Jet Ski rental operations.”
However, Marcia Rolle, owner of J.R. Action Water Sports, said the start to spring break has proven that her operation has not been negatively affected by the warning. She said once the operators obey the rules set by the Port Department “we shouldn’t have a problem”.
She said about the embassy’s warning: “They are the guests and they are going to look out for the guests. I was upset that they made the statement at first.”
She said port rules prohibit male Jet Ski operators riding with females and prohibits female operators riding with males, lessening the possibility of sexual misconduct by workers.
Sharad Bowe, owner of R.G. Water Sports, noted however that he is not convinced spring breakers read the embassy advisories. He contended that all of the parties involved have to come together to resolve the issues that cause the advisories.
Bowe, who is also a beach marshall for the Jet Ski
industry, said even though the advisories have not negatively affected business this season, “eventually it will definitely”.
“We would like whatever issues that cause these advisories to stop,” he said.
The government has worked hard to change the stigma surrounding the misconduct of jet ski operators and their workers, and jet ski operators who have felt the pressure have come together to help to manage their own identity.
“It was unfortunate that whatever happened, happened,” said Bowe. “We all are working hand in hand to ensure they stop putting out advisories.”