Jet Skis

Meeting in Tynemouth, 16/5/12 to discuss proposal for jet skis to launch in the Haven, Minutes taken by Jenni Corner

Alice Stewart opened by welcoming people to the meeting. She explained that the Tynemouth Village Association had been surprised to learn that the Council is in favour of the launching of jet skis from Prior's Haven. This seemed to be because people in Cullercoats, where jet skis currently launch, had demanded they be removed. We felt that people in Tynemouth should know about this proposal and have an opportunity to express their views.

Several people voiced concerns that many jet skiers break the speed limit and that the regulation is difficult. Chris Mason who is in charge of the lifeguard from St Mary’s Bay to the pier said that four arrests have been made for breaking the regulations. Several people said they found it impossible to read the numbers on the jet skis and they didn’t see anyone present to regulate them. Two swimmers, Dick Ward and Jenni Corner said they had experienced instances where they felt in danger from jet skiers going above the speed limit within King Edwards Bay*.

Joyce Jewitt asked what the Tynemouth Village Association was going to do about the results of the meeting and Joyce Leeson said that they would ask the Council for proper consultation with the people of Tynemouth concerning the matter.

Chris Mason explained that if the jet skis are in Cullercoats or Tynemouth they will be monitored by him but he is concerned that if they don’t set up an area for them to launch there will be more “off the cuff’ unregulated or un-licenced launches, which would be in breach of the council bi-laws but would be unlikely to result in action. He agreed that the regulation nationally is not adequate.

Sid, a Jet skier, said that he and his friend are responsible Jet skiers who do not want to be moved from Cullercoats because the ramp there is better than any would be in Tynemouth Haven. Apparently South Shields and Blaydon have “Power zones”, in the sea where the Jet skiers are cordoned off so they can go fast without concerns about swimmers. Several people said they thought that was a good idea, as long as the introduction of cordons did not interfere with other activities or blight the landscape in an area of outstanding beauty.

Someone pointed out that this was more satisfactory, and being situated the other side of the Spanish Battery more suitable for fishing, jet skiing but that they were further away. Malcolm Thoms said that he was fishing off the pier when a jet skier got tangled with his line and dragged his whole fishing rod line and tackle into the Tyne after which he swore at him using bad language. Several other people said they felt jet skis interfered with fishing.

The haven is very rocky for jet skis and a couple of jet skiers had already gone aground on rocks there.

Jenni Corner said that the residents of Newbiggen-by-sea had, like Cullercoats, objected to jet skis due to safety for swimmers and noise and pollution issues close to residential areas. Could another place be found which was more suitable for the jet skiers?Jim suggested that fifty yards after the Marine area by Royal Quays might be a suitable place for jet skis to launch but Chris Mason said that they would be charged a fee for use and be unregulated as they would not have to pay for a licence. Someone else suggested an area between Hailing Jetty and Tynemouth Launch at Fish Quay although there were concerns about the close proximity to the Haven area with young sailors, rowers, fishermen and those searching for peace, quiet and tranquility. Jenni Corner suggested an area in Wallsend, near the Wind power and cable company, where there is a water inlet where several boats are moored and there are empty properties next to the Tyne (with scope for development) and room for a Jet Ski ramp to be constructed.

Robin Sutton from Cullercoats said that the problem with Cullercoats is that there are swimmers in the water. Several people said that there are too many vulnerable people in the Haven too.

It was suggested that at least the river had a speed limit (8 knots) whereas outside the river there is none, but several people said that the jet skiers would go out into the sea from the Haven. In actual fact there is a speed limit of 5mph within 440 yards of the low tide level.

John Alder said that if you go out on a jet ski the fun comes out of going fast and recollected his experience in Jamaica. This is at odds with the regulations on the river and with being able to control jet skis where there are swimmers, or people in the water. Joyce Leeson said that when she contacted the Port of Tyne Harbour master he knew nothing about the council’s twelve page plans for a ramp and the introduction of jet skis to this part of the river. He said that in general he welcomes anyone using the river, if responsibly.

All agreed that those jet skiers present were clearly sensible co-operative people, but some, including the jet skiers present, voiced their doubts about other jet skiers who have been seen drunk, disorderly and speeding.

A member of the Red Seal Rescue Service, said that they were shocked to find that the council had planned to knock down their building next to the car park, relating possibly to order to install pipelines for gas, a caravan park and ramp. They had not been officially informed but had seen earlier plans for this.

A resident user said the sailing club and rowing club have been involved with negotiations concerning a ramp. It seems that they both feel the need for a ramp but are also finding there are many people wishing to launch from that area and it is The sailing club and rowing club have been involved with negotiations concerning a ramp. It seems that they both feel the need for a ramp but are also finding there are many people wishing to launch from that area and it is becoming overcrowded although they would hate not to include any interested parties.

Alan Lambert said that, as a member of the rowing club, he had been party to the designs of the ramp but, knowing the tides and the Haven well, and as one of several experienced engineers who looked at the plans; he did not have confidence in the engineering design of the ramp. He did not believe it would hold. It had been positioned in the wrong place.

Elaine Riley pointed out that many children, at the Sailing Club, learn to sail and, at the Rowing Club to row and that if they capsize it is dangerous having jet skis in close proximity. Jenni Corner said that young people the Sea Scouts also use the area for both activities.

Annette Chevalier said that she values the peace and tranquility of walking around the area and that the sound of jet skis is at odds with the ambiance of the place. Many people agreed with this.

Several people voiced concerns that many jet-skiers break the limit and that regulation is difficult. Chris Mason said that four arrests have been made for breaking the regulations (see end of minutes) but several present said they found it impossible to read the numbers on the jet skis and they did not see anyone present to regulate them.

Joyce Leeson summed up the meeting by suggesting that there had been a general agreement by jet skiers, residents and users that the Haven is an unsuitable area for jet skis. It such a safe and peaceful place, which has traditionally has had sailing, rowing, canoeing and fishing, as well as wildlife and bird watchers, all non-polluting and not intruding on others, and all incompatible with launching jet skis. The jet skiers themselves did not find the Haven the most suitable place from which to launch and it was clear that we all agreed that jet skis should not launch from priors haven.

Regulations regarding Jet Skis

Since the meeting Chris Mason has let us know the situation regarding patrolling jet skiers in the area. Humber Coastguard are in charge of whole of Northern area. The Haven hasn’t got a lifeguard patrolled area beach, since in order for the RNLI to practice, dogs have to banned and toilet facilities must be present. RNLI and the Volunteer Life Brigade could perform rescues there and both would be summoned through the coastguard. Tyneside never put lifeguards in the Haven, although they would respond to a First Aid callout. Permit holders in South side of Cullercoats Bay must launch in designated areas of the beach and like any motorised vehicle should keep within the 5mph limit within 440 yards of the low water mark. The river has a speed limit 8 knots is west or up river of the Groin(red buoy). From June 2 Warren Taylor will be in charge of taking the money for jet ski passes, as a private enterprise for the council, but until June 2 there will be no one regulating them. Jet skis are not allowed to beach anywhere except at designated areas.

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