Although far too close to shore to grant full salvage rights, maritime law states that the person to recover a sunken vessel is awarded (typically) between 10-to-25 percent of the value of the recovered item. While that might not sound like much, considering the market value of some historical artifacts pulled from the ocean floor, salvage diving can actually prove to be quite lucrative. And surprisingly, sunken jet skis – much like sunken sailboats, fishing boats and other vessels – are strewn across the ocean floor wherever mankind has sailed.
Of course, in late May of this year, one former owner of a Krash Industries Predator (sp.) became very happy when Ian Banks, a scuba diving enthusiast, discovered his lost freeride ski off of Gold Coast Seaway, in Queensland, Australia. When properly equipped, such machines can cost upwards to $25,000 to $30,000 USD, considering all of the lightweight, hand-formed carbon fiber and billet aluminum components. Freeride skis are some of the most intricate in all of jet skiing, requiring some seriously skilled hands to build machines capable of the amazing acrobatics shown in just some of the coverage published on The Watercraft Journal.
Of course, Queensland’s Gold Coast is considered one of the most desirable freeride locations in the world, and is host to several world famous freeride competitions. When more information arrives regarding the owner and details pertaining to its loss, we’ll update the story.
Thankfully, the personal watercraft community came through in a big way over the weekend. A virtual avalanche of information came pouring in, as reports revealed the Krash Industries Predator ski belonged to Australian freerider James Ricardo. Richardo suffered a sudden steering failure which sent the ski into a nose dive down to bottom of the Gold Coast Seaway.
Clint Ebbesen who was part of the rescue, explained the reason for the sinking, “[It was a] mechanical failure. A bolt holding on the handle bars sheared off. As the handle bar was pulled away from the ski it pulled on the steering and throttle cables, making the ski go full throttle at full lock and the ski just dived underwater and went down very quick.”
With quick work by Ian Banks, who located the ski in no time at all (and tied a locator buoy to it), a response crew was aboard a rescue boat, and with a few ropes and 3 hours time, Richardo’s ski was back on dry ground. Because of the heavy ingestion of sand, the Predator was whisked onto a trailer and hauled off to a local shop to be completely disassembled, cleaned and rebuilt as new.