Following a flurry of noise complaints and safety concerns from residents of the Pearl-Qatar over jet skiers and speed boats, management has said it plans to crack down on violators.
Speaking to Doha News, a number of residents have expressed unhappiness about the machines and their riders, who are apparently disrupting sleep and encroaching on restricted residential areas, including public beaches where children play.
American expat Kelly Wright said she was worried the jet skiers could cause injury:
“Besides the annoyance of my son being woken by them at all hours, I’ve also seen multiple swimmers almost get hit, because the jet skiers and boats come right up to the beach at speeds too fast to see.
I went to the beach yesterday, and the jet skiers did stop where the buoys were, but they were driving right up to them, making a show, creating a big wake as they did… Some smaller kids playing by the water’s edge got knocked off their feet by the waves, and toys were washed into the sea. “
In an email to one resident, the management of a tower in the Viva Bahriya district admitted they’ve received more than 200 complaints about the issue.
In response to the complaints, the United Development Company (UDC), which manages the island, told Doha News that it has been holding meetings with the Ministry of Interior and Coast Guard, and is beginning to take action to keep the jet skiers and speed boat owners at bay.
In a statement, UDC said:
“An agreement has been reached whereby the Coast Guard will officially start patrolling the waters of The Pearl-Qatar in order to clear violators and trespassers away. An initial limited operation took place last Thursday whereby some 25 jet skis were seized and we expect that the agreement and ensuing operations will go into full speed today (Thursday, April 24.)”
The residents’ complaints come in addition to the problem of noise pollution on the island from sports cars and motorbikes, an issue which also prompted an outcry from residents – and a response from UDC, which banned all non-resident motorbikes from the island last December.
At issue to many residents is that some riders deliberately take the vehicles into areas of the Pearl where their use is banned, including small canals and near the properties with beach access.
Many residents say the machines are a long-standing problem. Last year, for example, Pearl resident Juliette sent Doha News this video of jet skis next to Viva Bahriya beach. It shows them coming right up the beach, as children play nearby:
Meanwhile, resident Kasia Pearce recounted a frightening encounter her husband had while paddle boarding in the island’s waterways last week:
“My husband was attacked by three jet skiers which circled around him until he fell into the water. I called the police but since he was only distressed and not physically injured, they did not take much notice.”
Viva Bahriya resident Sarah Greenwood says that jet skiers are using the waterway between Towers 17 and 18 as a “short cut,” while blaring music loudly.
She added that Pearl authorities have been trying to block off either end of the canal with floating pontoons to stop jet skis and boats passing through, but these have apparently been vandalized by jet skiers.
According to the manager of one resident’s tower, who received more than 200 complaints about the jet skiing issue, the company had been “doing its best” to resolve the problem. He cited eight meetings with UDC management and contact with both the police and Coast Guard.
Have you been affected? Thoughts?