Norway’s conservative government coalition has given a green light for the use of jetskis, known locally as a vannskuter (literally, water scooter) in offshore waters beginning this summer. Local officials are protesting, both over the noise and safety hazards they pose, and intend to impose their right to regulate local use themselves.
Mayor Jone Blikra of the Labour Party in the popular coastal community of Kragerø, for example, wants to maintain a ban on jetskis in waters off the historic island community. Unless locally restricted, they’ll now be allowed in waters up to just 50 meters from swimming areas, where they will only be required to operate at low speed (five knots) in line with other small boats.
The state government earlier this week lifted regulations from 2013 that banned use of jetskis closer than 400 meters from land. Mayors along Norway’s southern coast known as Sørlandet are now calling for a revolt against jetskis. “We think they make a terrible amount of noise and serve no purpose,” the mayor of Risør, Per Kristian Lunden, told state broadcaster NRK. “We understand that some people think they’re fun to ride, but the majority wants peace and quiet in our archipelago.”
Politicians from the Progress Party, which shares state government power with the Conservatives, and the Liberal Party advocated lifting the former state ban on jetskis near land. Local officials now fear it will be difficult to enforce their own restrictions, unless all communities along the coast impose the same regulations. “I hope we’ll be able to mount a revolt here in Sørlandet,” Blikra told NRK, “and I’ll be having a meeting with Risør’s mayor on Friday.”