Speeding boat ‘could kill swimmer’

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In Jersey, any vessel operating within 200 metres of the shoreline must abide by a five-knot speed limit.

And, following a review of the Island’s beaches, a seasonal five-knot limit has now been introduced across a large section of St Brelade’s Bay. It came into force on Thursday.

Despite the restrictions, however, a member of the Société Jersiaise’s Marine Biology Section, has said that he was nearly hit by a boat towing a water-skier last weekend.

The section posted concerns on its facebook page.

It said: ‘I was nearly run down by a boat water-skiing about 50 metres from the shore in less than two metres of water.

‘This happens quite regularly in the summer and it’s only a matter of time before there is a fatal accident.’

Section chairman Gareth Jeffreys said that incidents of boats speeding close to the shoreline were a common occurrence and action needed to be taken.

‘We need a proper awareness campaign, it is definitely an issue,’ he said. ‘There is a five-knot limit in place for boats within 200m of the shore and you do get people going over that and it is especially bad during the summer.

‘It is not just humans, there are lots of different species which stay close to the shore and may come into contact with vessels.

‘It is also quite dangerous when you are snorkelling when a lot of your body is submerged under the water where it is not easy to be seen by boats.’

Meanwhile, Harbourmaster Bill Sadler said: ‘We probably serve about 20 to 25 enforcement notices a year for a number of different issues and we have a couple of cases pending at the moment in the Magistrate’s Court.

‘I worked at Trinity House [a UK seafaring charity] for around 12 years and generally, in terms of speeding, Jersey is very good compared to the Solent.

‘Boaters in Jersey seem to want to obey the rules and do their best to comply. It is just the two or three per cent that do not.’

Earlier this year, following a beach-safety review conducted by Ports of Jersey, it was decided that a seasonal five-knot speed limit would be put into place during the summer in a large section of St Brelade’s Bay.

It comes following an incident last year in which a passenger on a jet-ski nearly lost his leg in the bay after the vessel he was on was involved in collision with a speedboat.

Mr Sadler explained why the new speed limit had been introduced. ‘The use of St Brelade’s Bay has changed quite significantly over the past five years.

‘When I arrived in Jersey, stand-up paddleboards were a bit of a novelty but now they are everywhere and if you go down to St Brelade on one of the key days in summer it is really busy with all types of water users.

‘What we are trying to do with the five-knot limit is to de-conflict them.

‘We have 48 miles of coastline and around 840 sq miles of territorial sea and this is only a very small area.’

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