Summer crackdown on jet ski launches near Bexhill welcomed

Jet Skis
Jet Skis

Rother councillors have welcomed plans for a ‘crackdown’ on jet ski launching near Bexhill this summer.

The matter was discussed at a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Monday (July 29), as councillors heard of plans to stop the launching of jet skis from Herbrand Walk beach over the coming weeks.

Councillors heard how Rother District Council officers would be stationed at the beach for several days in August to advise jet skiers of the laws and – where necessary – to pursue enforcement action with the support of Sussex Police.

The move comes as the council lifts a temporary designation allowing the launching of jet skis (officially known as personal watercraft, as Jet Ski is a brand name) from the beach.

The crackdown was welcomed by cabinet member for tourism Deidre Earl-Williams (Ind, Bexhill Collington), who said: “I am very supportive of this because I do understand what the residents have suffered.

“But as always it is all a matter of enforcement. That is becoming a really big problem,  not just for this but for so many things to do with this council.”

Despite by-laws banning the practice, the site was temporarily designated as a launching site last year in light of legal advice warning that the council could be left liable should anyone be injured.

This was because of 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. This could mean the council may be found to be ‘unreasonable’ in its provision, lawyers said.

The temporary designation has now been lifted by officers, however, following further advice from council lawyers.

The move was backed by cabinet member for sport and leisure Cllr Jay Brewerton, who said: “I fully support the decision that officers have made.

“I actually went down there and personally investigated the whole stretch of beach. I have been there at busy weekends and seen the amount of bathers which are in the area there.

“From a safety perspective it is probably very valid to not launch watercraft from that area.

“However, I do feel – being in charge of leisure and sports – that we do need a facility that is a bit closer than Rye. Maybe somewhere between Eastbourne and Rye. 

“I do intend to have a look at alternative locations for future use.”