Jet skiers play deadly game in croc infested waters

 

A FAR North tour guide is calling for jet skis to be banned in crocodile country amid fears another human life taken by a man-eater would "destroy" tourism.

Daintree River guide David White, from Solar Whisper Crocodile and Wildlife Cruises, said high risk activities in known crocodile habitats meant the "unthinkable" could happen in waterways popular with tourists.

It comes after a Cairns yachtie was killed by a large saltie off Hinchinbrook Island and claims the croc-safe messaging from the Queensland Government is failing after a spate of recent attacks.

Mr White said tourism was already struggling.

Solar Whisper's David White is calling on jet skis to be banned on the Daintree River and other areas.
Solar Whisper's David White is calling on jet skis to be banned on the Daintree River and other areas.

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"We can't have a croc fatality on the Daintree River it will destroy us" he said.

Tourists regularly hired jet skis for "croc spotting'" in Cairns, Port Douglas and the Daintree and were often unaware of the dangers lurking beneath them, according to Mr White.

He said the vessels travelled at speed and also had to navigate submerged logs.

"It's an accident waiting to happen," he said.

"It would be horrible for someone to fall off a jet ski in front of tourists and be eaten by a croc.

"The thought of tourists actually watching a croc attack is unthinkable, but that's a reality if you're jet skiing, kayaking or stand up paddle boarding where crocs are present." 

There are calls for jet skis to be banned on the Daintree River (pictured) out of fears users could be attacked by a crocodile. Picture: Supplied.
There are calls for jet skis to be banned on the Daintree River (pictured) out of fears users could be attacked by a crocodile. Picture: Supplied.

Mr White said jet skis should be outlawed in conservation areas and where crocodile viewing was a tourist activity.

However NQ Watersports owner, Stephen Singleton, called it a "massive over-reaction." His Cairns business prided itself on "being safety conscious" and he stressed no-one had been eaten by a crocodile in Australia while using a jet ski.

"If you're going to ban jet skis then you might as well ban fishing in tinnies, too," he said. "We send a guide out with every one of our customers that gets on a jet ski. It's an extremely safe thing to do when it's done correctly."

David White knows better than most how big, and potentially deadly, the crocs are on the Daintree River. Picture: Supplied/Picture David White.
David White knows better than most how big, and potentially deadly, the crocs are on the Daintree River. Picture: Supplied/Picture David White.

Queensland Senator Susan McDonald said more action was needed to reduce the risk of crocodile attacks, calling current policies "reactive".

It comes after a second 3m crocodile was captured and euthanised in relation to the investigation into missing Cairns man Andy Heard.

Human remains were also found inside a 4.2m crocodile on Friday, believed to have been involved in the death of the much loved 69-year-old.

"You can never make our waters completely safe from crocodile attacks but authorities can certainly take more steps to reduce the risks to people," Senator McDonald said.

"There are also repercussions for tourism in North Queensland. People shouldn't have to dodge huge crocodiles when they visit the beautiful beaches or go fishing at popular urban tourist destinations such as Port Douglas, Cairns, Mission Beach or Cardwell."

Originally published as 'Unthinkable': Jet skiers play deadly game in croc infested waters


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