Cape charger, Jeremy Johnson relies on his ski when he is out surfing the Western Cape’s notorious big wave reefs. Not only for the peace of mind it provides should he wipeout – knowing that someone will be able to get to him and assist when he is in danger – but also just to get out to some of the more inaccessible spots.
Jem charges at Dungeons while Ant Fox watches on from the ski.
Because of this, Jem has major respect for his ski and recently, together with his sponsor Yamaha Marine, he donated a Personal Water Craft to SANParks, which he hopes will help alter the perception the authorities (and public) have of these craft.
Jem continues below…
South Africa with its vast and amazing coast has a number of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) that are controlled and managed by SANParks. One such MPA is found around the entire Cape Peninsula and forms part of the Table Mountain National Park.
Over ten years ago the Department of Environmental Affairs, which controls the legal side of the MPAs, banned all Personal Water Craft (PWC) – also known as ‘jet skis’ – from these areas. This legislation was justified then but because of new Marine Notices from the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and huge manufactural changes to these now small vessels, they are now recognised the same as any other boat. This means that they have to carry all the relevant paperwork and certificates and abide by the rules of the Merchant Shipping Act. With the latest 4 stroke technology these PWC are also extremely environmentally friendly.
Due to the actions of a few individuals ruining the reputation of these vessels, the public has an understandably negative view towards them. But with ongoing hard work and with the help of respected bodies such as SANParks and SAMSA, we are confident that we can turn the tide on this perception and one day in the near future these vessels will get the credit that they deserve.
Jeremy Johnson handing over the new Yamaha VX11OO PWC to SANParks. The PWC will be used for monitoring and policing of MPAs. On his right is Willem Brink, head of SANParks Marine Unit and on his left is Pierre Nel, SANParks Senior Section Ranger.
Due to all the great work that SANParks does, as well as the daily uphill battle they face with poaching etc..,myself and Yamaha arranged to donate a PWC for them to use for their monitoring and policing of our coastline. As the rescue craft of choice around the world because of their great handling, easy and fast launching, quietness, low emissions and with its no wake technology, this is the perfect vessel for the type of work SANParks has to do on a daily basis. And we are very happy to have the opportunity to assist them with this.
We are very excited about our relationship going forward and feel that this is a huge step in the right direction and are pleased that instead of SANParks spending valuable time and money policing a craft, this craft is now their greatest marine asset. It is also a big lesson for everyone to learn that sometimes the biggest problems between two people can be overcome with a bit of understanding, time, respect and seeing the situation from the other person’s perspective.
Safety first. Jem gives the SANParks team some safety tips.
Jeremy Johnson (centre) and the stoked SANParks team.