Jet ski driver with ‘disregard’ for law
ONE man’s unlicensed jet ski rides, one of which almost caused a 71-year-old woman to fall overboard, have resulted in a $6500 fine.
Nigel Clive Tucker faced Proserpine Magistrates Court on Monday for two incidents where he drove his jet ski without the proper personal watercraft licence and also drove dangerously at speed.
The 55-year-old Proserpine man pleaded guilty to all five charges.
Police prosecutor Bernhard Berger said the most dangerous incident occurred on January 16 around 8.30am at Shute Harbour when Tucker had a near miss with a 71-year-old woman.
As the woman was travelling from the public jetty to her boat, Tucker drove his jet ski around 20 knots and was said to be on a “collision course” with her. He came to a stop about two metres from her tender which caused a wash, covered her in water and nearly threw her from her boat.
After having words with each other, the woman continued on but Tucker followed her and got as near as 30cm to her boat before “aggressively accelerating while completing two circles around the woman” causing the boat to almost capsize.
Tucker also rode his jet ski between 15-20 knots in the direction of a man on the public boat ramp, getting so close, the man jumped out of the way.
Four witnesses then saw Tucker travelling in excess of 54 knots in a six knot zone through the harbour as he left.
Although the jet ski was registered, Tucker did not hold a licence to drive it.
To further compound his problems, he was also charged following an incident on November 13, 2016, when water police saw him speed off at the Proserpine Dam, travelling in excess of 50km/h along the dam foreshore, which has a speed limit of 5km.
Defence solicitor David Fitzgerald, of Macrossan and Amiet, said Tucker had purchased the jet ski in October last year after recently relocating to the Whitsundays.
He said he had struggled to find the right courses to acquire his jet ski licence.
However magistrate Simon Young described the excuse as “rubbish”.
“Every fortnight the yacht club has courses,” he said.
“It’s a casual disregard for the law.”
Mr Fitzgerald said his client “did not intend harm or damage”, and that “upon reflection he acknowledges the sheer stupidity of his actions... and accepts his conduct was reckless, immature and potentially dangerous”.
In sentencing, magistrate Simon Young said operating on water was a “hostile environment”.
“When things go wrong they go badly wrong and there is very little room to manoeuvre,” he said.
“You have operated that vessel in a highly dangerous way with complete disregard for the safety of other vessels and people on board boats, which was compounded by your lack of licence.”
In addition to the $6500 fine, Tucker was disqualified from holding a marine licence for 12 months.