Concerns over jet ski menace

A LOCAL district councillor has called for tighter controls on the use of jet skis on the Rye Bay coastline.

Cllr Robin Patten, from Pett Level , said it was “absolutely absurd” that jet skis were not subject to the same rules as boats concerning use and speed in shared public areas.

He spoke out as Rother Council’s Boat Byelaws Working Group met to look at possible revisions to existing rules.

Powerful jet skis are currently not covered by Government legislation meaning that people of any age can ride them without the need for qualifications or a licence.

There have been several near misses between bathers and jet ski users at Camber Sands in the past, prompting Rother Council to take action in 2002 to bring in safety measures and controls at Camber and Pett.

The council teamed up with the Environment Agency and East Sussex County Council to construct a launch ramp at Broomhill, Camber, as well as setting out 55 speed restriction marker buoys. They also put up information signs and warning flags.

Rother has said the public will be consulted before any new boating byelaws are brought into force.

Fairlight, Pett and Icklesham Seashore Byelaw Five states that launching, using or landing any personal water craft is prohibited except in designated places.

A current May to September speed limit for boats in zoned areas, of eight knots (10mph) over a 91 metre (300 feet) area, could be amended to a slower five knots (5.75mph) over a 200 metres (656 feet) area.