WATER WARS

Po­lice launch blitz on tin­nie hoons amid fear of fa­tal­i­ties

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - RYAN KEEN ryan.keen@news.com.au

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.

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