Felixstowe: Calls for jet-ski zone to curb nuisance powercraft riders

CALLS have been made today for a jet-ski zone to be set up off Felixstowe after anti-social behaviour problems with powercraft riders at a fishing hamlet.

Coastguards have given advice to riders of the jet bikes several times this summer following complaints about speeding and dangerous weaving in and out of boats.

At the weekend, officers were alerted by the public to jet-skiers causing a nuisance at Felixstowe Ferry – but the offenders stayed offshore and could not be reached.

Jo Arlow, Ipswich sector manager for the Coastguard, said officers’ biggest concern was for safety of people using the water – and felt an offshore zone was still needed at the resort.

“I have found jet-skiers to be very responsive when you give them advice – they take it on the chin, say sorry and we don’t have to speak to them again,” he said.

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“But they always ask, where should we launch and ski? And we don’t have anything to offer.”

“Often, because there are no training courses around here and anyone can buy a jet-ski and go straight out on the water, they don’t know they were actually doing anything wrong.

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“But they always ask, where should we launch and ski? And we don’t have anything to offer.”

Mr Arlow said he still believed a jet-ski zone – with launching from either the slipway at The Dip or the south end of the prom at Landguard – was the best answer.

“Several years ago I said that I would lay the buoys for a 200 yard channel straight off the beach at The Dip to open water – they could go five knots in the channel and then once out to the sea they could do what they wanted. It would have been ideal. No-one was interested.

“It makes absolutely no sense not to have a zone. My job is to save lives and I want everyone to be safe in the water.”

Modern jet-skis were not noisy, which had been one of the problems a decade ago, he said.

Mr Arlow said The Dip already had a park for boats and jet-ski trailers, lifeguards, slipway and public toilets. Use of the Suffolk Coastal-owned site is prevented by a barrier.

Council chiefs say the only place jet-skis are allowed to launch on Felixstowe’s five-mile coastline is the slipway at Felixstowe Ferry.

Permission is needed and launching fees are charged.

There are speed limits in the estuary area and an anti-social behaviour monitoring zone – all water users have a responsibility to act in a safe manner with regard to others.

A council spokesman said the authority had received no complaints this year about jet-skiers.

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