Police launch blitz on tinnie hoons amid fear of fatalities
Teen tinnie hoons are trying to fool police by disguising super-charged engines with six horsepower covers which don’t require a licence – and cops fear it’s only a matter of time before lives are lost. Gold Coast water police have launched a blitz on rule-breakers that will target out-of-control juveniles during the school holiday fortnight. “I’m genuinely concerned I’ll be putting one of these kids in a body bag, they are going to end up dead,” acting senior sergeant Mitch Gray said.
“DANGEROUS” teen tinnie hoons are trying to fool police by disguising super-charged engines with six horsepower covers which don’t require a licence.
But Gold Coast water cops – fearing fatalities from out-ofcontrol juvenile operators – are on to the disturbing trend and plan a blitz on waterways rule-breakers during the school holiday fortnight.
Acting senior sergeant Mitch Gray said in the past 12 months police had found increasing instances of young tinnie operators disguising engines by removing branding stickers and serial numbers.
“They are buying 15 horsepower motors and putting six horsepower cowlings over them. They are trying to deceive us,” he said.
“You don’t need a licence to operate a tinnie that’s up to six horsepower.”
Mercury and other outboard engine brands had provided police with “tools” to detect actual horsepower of a motor so vessels could be seized on the spot, he said.
It is the focus of a special two-week operation by authorities which started on Saturday, targeting Gold Coast tinnie rats from the NSW border to Logan.
Brisbane and Gold Coast water police are joining forces with Rapid Action Patrol
officers, Queensland Boating and Fisheries inspectors and the Pol Air chopper for the crackdown.
Mr Gray said juvenile tinnie rats indulging in “anti-social behaviour” including spraying other users, speeding and not keeping a safe distance was a
focus. Drink and drug driving would also be targeted.
“My main concern is these young kids are going out in tinnies and driving erratically and dangerously, showing off to their mates.
“I’m genuinely concerned I’ll be putting one of these kids in a body bag, they are going to end up dead.
“It comes back to the parents knowing what their kids are doing, where they are doing it and how they are operating these vessels. If they don’t take responsibility we are going to be telling them their kid has flipped their tinnie and killed themselves or their mate.”
Mr Gray, head of the Gold Coast water police, said another major concern was “wamping”, involving revving the tinnie and standing it almost vertical.
“They end up cruising along virtually on the propellor, at high speed and can’t see where they are going because they’re looking up at the sky.”
Waterways rules require boaties to go no more than six knots within 30m of jetties and coastline but police were pinging users for speeding within a metre of obstacles and trying to spray people with wake.
“We had one kid trying that six months ago who went straight into a pylon – he ended up with massive internal injuries.”
Police can seize vessels for about three months if being operated unsafely and can also confiscate mobile phone and GoPro video cameras which might contain evidence.
During the school holidays blitz, the Pol Air helicopter will also be conducting regular flyovers of known troublespots and report any problems to police on the water.