Summer crackdown on jet ski launches at Herbrand Walk planned

Jet Skis
Jet Skis

Rother District Council is to hold a ‘crackdown’ on jet skiers this summer, a report says.

According to a report to be discussed by council leaders next Monday (July 29), Rother District Council will act to stop the launching of jet skis from Herbrand Walk beach over the coming weeks.

While the launching of jet skis (officially known as personal watercraft, as Jet Ski is a brand name) is prohibited at the site through by-laws, the council had temporarily designated the boat lane of Herbrand Walk as an appropriate launching and recovery site last year.

According to council papers, the decision had been taken due to legal concerns over Rother only having a single site for jet ski launches within the district, requiring jet skiers to make a 35-mile journey to Rye Harbour. 

As a result, the council was concerned it could be found to be ‘unreasonable’ in its provision, potentially leaving the authority liable should anyone be injured.

Since then, however, the council has been given further legal advice, saying a ban on jet ski launching at Herbrand Walk is reasonable, due to a nearby designated launch in Eastbourne.

In light of this, the temporary designation has been removed and the council is set to step up efforts to prevent jet skis using the site.

The report says: “The council has a duty to take all reasonably practicable steps to minimise any risks posed to the public.

“While it may not be practicable within the council’s limited resources to regularly and proactively police Herbrand Walk it is felt that the implementation of a crackdown on select occasions over the summer is reasonable and achievable.

“The ‘crackdown’ will involve a council officer being on-site at Herbrand Walk beach on pre-agreed days during the summer months to support compliance with the by-laws, educate [jet ski] users, and direct them to alternative sites. 

“When relevant, the officer will pursue enforcement action with the support of the police as required. 

“The council will continue to monitor reports of any [jet skis] launching or recovering from Herbrand Walk and provide a reactive service, where resources allow.”