Tinny rats in police sights on Gold Coast
Frustrated water police on the Gold Coast are cracking down on “tinny rats” – a group of predominantly young teenagers who perform illegal and dangerous boating stunts and post videos of their exploits online.
Tinny rats have long been a nuisance to police, other recreational boat users and residents living on the water, however police said the problem had become worse in recent months.
Most of the dangerous practice involves “spraying” and “freestyling”, whereby drivers perform sharp turns at high speeds to spray people in other boats.
Sergeant Tony Nelson from Gold Coast Water Police said many of the of the stunts were performed in boats with over-sized engines by unlicensed drivers.
He said social media had enabled offenders to share videos of their activities and brag about them online.
“We’re extremely concerned that people are going to be badly injures or perhaps worse,” Sgt Nelson said.
“It does seem to be getting worse and the risk taking seems to be getting a lot more prevalent.
“They’re proud of the stunts that they can do, without having any regard to the consequences of their actions.”
A Current Affair joined Gold Coast Water Police on one of their regular patrols of the Gold Coast’s labyrinth of canals.
Upon arrival, police had already seized two tinnies from young teenagers not licenced to drive boats with engines larger than 16-horsepower.
One mother who arrived to collect her son admitted she and other parents had ‘given into the pressure’ of purchasing a high-powered motor despite her knowledge that it would be illegal for her son to use it.
“(My son) has been fined and had his boat seized for a second time,” she said.
“I knew that none of them were wanting a six-horsepower motor because it’s just not fast enough or good enough.
“We sort of gave into the pressure of getting a bigger motor like most of the parents have.
“We did sort of think that he was responsible and they weren’t doing these things.”
Police were out in force on the water over the Easter long weekend on the lookout for illegal and dangerous behaviour.
A male jetski rider was reported charged with high-range drink driving after his vessel collided with a commercial jet boat popular with tourists.
Police are urging boat users to heed safety warning and operates boats responsibly.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018