Investigation finds watersports safety lapsesHoliday Which? probe unearths dodgy practices

12 September 2006

Dodgy watersports operators in popular European resorts are endangering holidaymakers with unsafe equipment, warns Holiday Which? today.

Eleven out of 18 operators we investigated in Corfu, and Costa Blanca and Costa Brava in Spain were rated either unsafe or potentially unsafe.

Holiday Which? was joined by an expert from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) for the watersports investigation, which looked at towed inflatable rides, parasailing, water-skiing, windsurfing and jet-ski hire.

Seven centres – CorcyraBeach and Kavos Watersports on Corfu, and Cavanna Wind, La Manga del Mar Menor jet-ski hire, Maleni Jet, Parres Watersports and Sandrina on the Costa Blanca, Spain – were rated unsafe.

A further four centres – 2001 Ski and Fun Club, Chandris, Glifada Beach and Messonghi Beach on Corfu – had faults that made them potentially unsafe.

Safety lapses

Holiday Which? Editor Lorna Cowan said: ‘It’s not much fun having to spend your precious holiday time in casualty.  We saw too many watersports operators who are making this all too likely with their total disregard for safety standards.’

With no European-wide legislation for the operation and management of beach watersports, unscrupulous companies can continue to operate without taking safety seriously.

Holiday Which? gives the following safety tips when considering taking to the water:

  • equipment that is being properly looked after should be stored out of the sun, with sand and salt rinsed off in fresh water
  • properly-fitting life jackets and protective helmets should be provided
  • operating areas should be buoyed off to maintain a safe distance from other watersports
  • operators should take personal details and ask about any medical conditions
  • one-man operations are more likely to be unsafe; if an operator is driving the boat or talking to customers, who is being the look-out?