Jet skiers banned from Sunderland’s beachfront after lives put at risk by 'irresponsible' use
Jet skiers have been banned from Sunderland’s beachfront after a number of dangerous incidents which have put lives at risk.
The ban comes after swimmers and those using pleasure boats have been put at risk by the ‘irresponsible actions’ of some jet skiers in recent months.
Under new rules, jet skis are now banned from approaching within 200 metres of the prevailing tide line between Souter Point and Ryhope Dene.
In addition, the only permitted launching places at Sunderland are Hylton and Potato Garth slipways, while a blanket 6-knot speed limit remains in force on the river up to the outer pier ends.
The ban aims to protect beach users, swimmers and others present close inshore.
Port of Sunderland Harbourmaster, Captain Kevin Ullah, took action to put the ban in place by issuing Harbour Master’s Direction under statutory powers.
He said: “In recent weeks we've seen swimmers, non-motorised craft, pleasure boats and even shipping all being potentially endangered by the irresponsible use of jet skis."
The Port of Sunderland introduced water patrols to engage with people misusing jet skis in the port in 2012, leading to a reduction in the number of complaints and incidents.
But Captain Ullah said despite water patrols, there has recently been a significant number of jet skis being used in a dangerous manner.
He warned that he would seek to take action against anyone flouting the rules.
Captain Ullah added: “We are working closely with Northumbria Police Marine Unit over this matter and while we hope we will not have to prosecute, we will take offenders to court should they not comply with this Direction.”
Northumbria Police’s Firearms Support and Marine Unit has said it will work with Sunderland City Council and its partners to protect those on the coastlines and warned it will take action against those who break the law.
Sunderland City Council leader and Chairman of the Port Board, Coun Graeme Miller, said: "It's shocking to see the irresponsible actions of a few thoughtless individuals putting the lives of swimmers and those using pleasure boats at risk.
"I hope that those responsible will take heed of this warning otherwise we can and will take legal action against them."