Dorset Police use water scooters to clampdown on anti-social behaviour on Britain’s waterways including ‘idiot’ jet skiers in pilot scheme
- Dorset police will pilot tactical watercraft to patrol 100 miles of the coastline
- Families and locals have reported multiple ‘near-misses’ at the idyllic River Stour
After a slew of complaints from swimmers and locals of ‘reckless jet skiers’, some travelling at seven times the speed limit, police have vowed to increase patrols.
Dorset Police are piloting water-scooters to crackdown on the anti-social behavior of ‘idiot’ jet skiers speeding on rivers packed with children and paddleboarders.
Tactical watercraft will be used by police to patrol almost 100 miles of coastline to tackle the irresponsible use of jet-skis.
Families enjoying the amenities of the idyllic River Stour at Christchurch in Dorset, have reported multiple ‘near-misses’, often while the river is packed with young children and toddlers.
The dangerous riders have also been slammed for blaring loud music while on the waterways, and ‘ruining it for others’.
The new pilot scheme follows after the law on reckless jet skiers was strengthened, with the craft now subject to the same regulations as ships and boats
Tactical watercraft will be used by police to patrol almost 100 miles of coastline to tackle the irresponsible use of jet-skis
Sgt Ryan Prater, of the Marine Force Support Group, told BBC News: ‘Sadly, we do see Jet Skis being driven inappropriately, which can cause a danger to others on the water.’
The new pilot scheme follows after the law on reckless jet skiers was strengthened, with the craft now subject to the same regulations as ships and boats.
Users caught breaching the toughened measures now face up to two years in jail or an unlimited fine if convicted of endangering other vessels and people unlimited fine.
The new law was introduced after a boom in the watersport industry during the pandemic.
In May, a video caught a speeding jet skier and his female pillion rider travelling at such terrifying speeds, that witnesses claimed it was a ‘miracle’ nobody was hurt.
The ‘reckless’ rider was estimated to be storming through the River Stour at Christchurch, Dorset at 40 knots (46mph), more than seven times the 5 knot limit.
One person – who asked to remain anonymous – said: ‘The river was packed with hire boaters, paddle boarders and others on the water on such a sunny day.
‘There were lots of boats for hire with toddlers inside who were at risk when these idiots flew past.
‘There were also kids swimming nearby as they like to swing into the water from trees on the river bank.
In May, a video caught a speeding jet skier and his female pillion rider travelling at such terrifying speeds, that witnesses claimed it was a ‘miracle’ nobody was hurt
As the jet ski went past, it sent up a large spray of water as it motored down the riverway
‘Lots of people had near misses with this jet ski rider from Iford all the way to Mudeford.
‘You always get idiots ruining it for others.’
Members of the public using the Dorset waterway reported being terrorised by the same yellow jet ski.
The same pair are said to have narrowly missed some swimmers while bombing along the river with music blaring and have been slammed on social media.
Gary Elford, chairman of the Wessex Surfing Club, welcomes tougher legislation to deal with reckless riders.
He said: ‘Having seen far too many near misses from reckless jet ski riding and occasionally other types of small-powered craft in and around surfers at local surf spots, I welcome any strengthening of legislation that gives the powers that be the ability to deal with the sections of the jet-ski and power sports community.
‘They seem to think they can ride however they want and wherever they want, with no regards for others safety in the water.
‘Inshore reckless riding isn’t acceptable and will now finally be backed by tough legislation, should they continue to ignore this requirement from their riding behaviour.’
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