Warning for 'reckless' jetskiers

RECKLESS jetskiers could be banned from Essex beaches following a series of run-ins with furious swimmers and boatusers. Coastguards were inundated with complaints after the scorching weather caused temperatures to boil off some of the county's resorts.

RECKLESS jetskiers could be banned from Essex beaches following a series of run-ins with furious swimmers and boatusers.

Coastguards were inundated with complaints after the scorching weather caused temperatures to boil off some of the county's resorts.

The warning came after a series of incidents, including one when a rogue

jetskier drove towards a yacht before turning away at the last moment and drenched the boat's vital navigation equipment.


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The captain of the Mirmillo was “minding his own business” when he was the victim of unprovoked “waverage”.

Coastguards were flooded with calls from young families who claimed they had terrifying near misses with speedboat drivers coming too close to the shore.

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Bruce Lack, watchmanager of Thames Coastguard, based in Walton, warned the behaviour of the minority could have a massive impact on jet skiers.

He said: “It is my view that if the minority continue to behave in this dangerous and irresponsible manner then the end result may well be that extra legislation is brought in so that jetskiers can't come into contact with other water users and swimmers.

“The end result of which will be that jetsskiers have their past time restricted to a very small area. It is a case where the minority has spoilt it for the majority.

“This sort of incident will widen the gap between the yachtsmen and motorboaters and jet skiers - instead of working together to use the water in a like minded attitude, this will turn yachtsmen against jet skiers.”

Mr Lack added there could have been a serious collision between the jetskier and the Mirmillo if the rider had been unable to turn away in time.

The wake from the jetski caused a wave to cover the yacht soaking a camera and vital navigation equipment.

The captain was unhurt but was shocked by the drama at about 12.15pm on Sunday.

Thames Coastguard added it could not enforce any laws relating to speeding craft but was only able to speak to the police marine section which could prosecute people for speeding.

Local bylaws currently dictate where vessels can and can't go.

Terry Allen of Frinton Town Council said: “I really can't see how society allows these things because they are noisy, dangerous and some of the people using them are so irresponsible.

“We have the situation of parents not allowing their children to get in the water when they go the seaside for tranquility but they are being bullied out the water.”

He added there was currently little that could be done to stop such behaviour and said he was worried somebody would die before legislation was changed.

Jon Mendez chief powerboat instructor for the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) said: “The RYA advocates education through training rather than legislation. We currently provide a one-day course for personal watercraft users that covers all the essentials and teaches users to be responsible and considerate to other water users. The manufactures belief in the scheme is endorsed with a £50 voucher with all new craft as a contribution to training costs.

“Many local councils and harbours use our training scheme and the management guide that we produce to ensure that personal watercraft usage is responsible but still fun by requiring registration and proof of insurance before going afloat.”

He added: “The numbering on craft also deters the “boyracer” from spoiling things for the responsible user. 

“We do not support the introduction of compulsory legislation as we believe it will not stop those irresponsible water users from continuing to act dangerously due to the lack of enforcement.

“Instead, those that already behave responsibly will be forced to incur the costs and lengthy procedures of taking a “driving test” or have their freedoms infringed by restrictions on the water.”

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