No to jet skis in SVG waters – letter to tourism officials
April 21, 2023
No to jet skis in SVG waters – letter to tourism officials

Dear Mr Beache and Minister James, I read with interest the March 1st article in IWitnessNews regarding the possible re-examination later this year of the ban on the importation of PWCs (personal watercraft, e.g. jet skis, sea-doos, wave runners, et al) in St Vincent & the Grenadines.

Two sentences in that article stood out to me:

He said it is “funny” that the ban is still in place because the “marine sector is our strongest sector” in the tourism industry. And, “I think people would be surprised that it’s some of the stakeholders that are against it.”

In actual fact, it’s not “funny” at all and it should be no “surprise” that so many stakeholders are firmly against lifting the ban. On the contrary, the current strength of SVG’s marine sector — primarily yachting, but also diving and snorkelling, eco-kayak tours, etc — is the foremost of the numerous and valid reasons that the ban should be kept in place.

Seven consecutive surveys of yachting visitors and local boaters (including local yacht charter operators) alike, conducted by Caribbean Compass regional yachting magazine between 1996 and 2017 (the next one, due to be held in 2020, was suspended owing to the Covid pandemic), revealed that upwards of 95% of yachting visitors and local respondents consistently “prefer to be in areas without jet-skis.” Furthermore, they cite the absence of jet skis as a major attraction of SVG waters.

Is the loss of a couple of superyachts at Christmas time worth the decimation of the rest of the visiting yachting and local charter-boating sector?

Zoning has been put forward as a solution to ameliorate the danger posed by PWCs. Ask the yachts and other water sports operators in Rodney Bay, St Lucia, how abysmally that works (for the most recent example, see

St Vincent & the Grenadines was very forward-thinking in legislating a ban on the importation of all PWCs in 1992. A proposal to lift the ban put forward ten years ago did not pass due to loud public outcry. SVG’s marine sector has grown from strength to strength since that time.

The lack of jet skis in SVG waters is not a problem, it’s an asset. Let’s keep it that way.

Respectfully yours as a proud SVG citizen, Sally Erdle
Editor Emeritus, Caribbean Compass magazine