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Neil Farnham-Smith » On Water

On Water

I spend many weeks of the year supporting a variety of events from the water. It’s a great way to break out of a desk job and get some fresh air, whilst fulfilling my love of travelling and discovering new places and most importantly getting on the water!


Training in Wales, May 2013

Training in Wales, May 2013, Courtesy of Glyn Ovens.


I own and maintain a lot of equipment enabling me to marshal, provide on-water safety cover and towing of wake board and water ski riders at many types of event:

  • Yamaha VXR 3 Seat Personal Watercraft
  • HSA (High Surf Accessories) Rescue Sled
  • 2 x Icom M71 VHF Radios (Loaned out to event staff)
  • 1 x Icom M73 Plus VHF Radio
  • Icom IC-M400BB Fixed VHF/DSC Radio (within the Yamaha VXR ski)
  • Iveco Daily 3.5 ton panel van 4.5 meter load length able to carry 1 ton of equipment
  • Lots of wet gear, anchors, marshal flags
  • Tools and equipment to help support any event and deal with issues not planned for.

I also have use of a Yamaha 550 quad bike with four wheel drive and locked differential and electric winch, allowing water access at many difficult to launch sites.


Marshalling and providing safety cover using Personal Watercraft (Jetski) has no specific training, however there are now a number of independent training providers who do offer training focussing on swift water, surf and flood rescue.

Personal Watercraft are found with many organisations including the RNLI, fire and police as an effective craft for the rapid recovery of people from water during emergency situations.

I have 12 years experience riding personal watercraft and over 8 years experience marshalling and working at events.


I have a vast amount of experience in

  • Marshalling groups of recreational riders
  • Marshalling at race events, both small closed courses on in-land water and wide area courses on coastal waters
  • Display safety
  • Wakeboard towing
  • FlyBoard Throttle Control (if the fly by wire throttle is not available)

I also ran the Queen’s Harbour Master Harbour Patrol, JetSki section for a two years, providing training and managing two personal watercraft in assisting and educating leisure users with a team of 15 riders. I created a bespoke training course to cover safe working practices when approaching and dealing with the public and leisure craft users including how to approach people and craft, ways of communicating and how to deal with aggression and safeguard the RWC.

I attend typically 15-20 events every year, mostly during the Summer months and weekends. I do it because I enjoy it, I love the travel, visiting new places, the buzz of the event and being out on the water.

Organisations I have been involved with

What do I ask for?

This is my hobby, but the costs add up. So I ask that event organisers help assist with out of pocket expenses such as travel, accommodation (happy to share), fuel in my craft and wider operating costs.

Running a jetski in almost a commercial manner costs a lot. My craft can clock up 8 hours at a typical race event, two events on my ski is equal to a heavy year of use on a recreational craft. I can typically take a new craft from zero hours to over 300 in three years, this means the craft is nearly worthless and worn out requiring either extensive servicing and rebuild or be replaced.

Thanks to organisations and people for their support!

I’m lucky to have several major manufacturers who support what I do and provide assistance from time to time in keeping me on the water.

  • Yamaha Motor UK – Past assistance with my PWC and Grizzly 550 Quad Bike.
  • Icom UK – VHF Radio and Communications

Getting in touch

I’m always interested at getting involved in new events. If you feel I could help with your on-water requirements please feel free to contact me to discuss.

  • Mobile: +44 (0)7919 335544
  • eMail: n e il …at… far nh am …dot… t v