Plans to tackle 'dangerous' jet-skiers plaguing South Shields coast

Town hall bosses are exploring new measures to tackle the issue of ‘dangerous’ jet-skiers in South Shields.

By Chris Binding
Friday, 8th January 2021, 4:31 pm
Updated Friday, 8th January 2021, 5:13 pm

This included one rider reportedly causing distress to members of the public and a separate incident of two riders allegedly riding close to a pod of dolphins at high speeds.

South Tyneside Council, working with partners, is exploring new measures to manage the issue and improve public safety.

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Stock image of a jet ski-style watercaft as council chiefs look at how best to tackle problems with nuisance riders in South Tyneside

“Yes the [jet skiers] have been an issue over summer,” said Andrew Whittaker, the council’s corporate lead for town centres and foreshores.

“Maybe it was accentuated because of the Covid issues that we had and people were desperate to get out and get out on the water.

“We are working with the [Port of Tyne] and the river police but also with North Tyneside Council and those other councils upriver, to manage a ‘designated area’ which will be marked off and buoyed off, particularly on Littlehaven beach.

“It won’t necessarily stop the jet skis from coming into it but it would make it much easier to define where swimmers, dogs, canoeists or paddle boarders can go in that particular location and to keep the jet skis away from it.

“[The issue] is on our radar, there were a number of near misses last year which we’re aware of.”

Mr Whittaker was speaking at an Overview and Scrutiny Coordinating and Call-in Committee on January 5, which was held via videolink and broadcast on YouTube.

The comments came during a discussion on proposed new public spaces protection orders (PSPOs) which aim to crack down on anti-social behaviour across the borough.

Councillor Gladys Hobson said jet skiers in the harbour were a “major problem in the summer especially” when people were swimming or exercising dogs.

“Often these jet skis are very, very dangerous,” she added.

If problems with jet skis persist, Mr Whittaker explained, the council could explore other measures.

The council officer added:“If we find that at some point in the future that it’s not working, what we would look to do, we do have to put some impositions over where people launch from on the river itself.

“They would have to use a designated South Tyneside Council launch ramp, that means we know who they are, that they have obviously got licences and have got pay for it, there are restrictions on them and that means that we could certainly keep an eye on it.

“But I think at the moment we have got a positive direction of travel with partners to look to reduce that particular [issue with jet skiers].”

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