The UK’s coastguard is warning people of the dangers of jet skis, personal watercraft (PWC) and motorised recreational craft after a spate of incidents in recent weeks around the south west coast of England.
Many were breakdowns, but these incidents also included jet skis and motor boats overturning in the water, getting too close to other vessels, collisions and conflict between users of these craft and other sea users, such as swimmers.
Sadly, two incidents resulted in fatalities.
Richy Williams, senior coastal operations officer for the area with HM Coastguard, said: “The majority of PWC and motorcraft users operate their vessels responsibly but there are some who don’t respect the water, the capabilities of their vessels and other water users.
“We want people to enjoy themselves at the coast, but also to make sure they’re staying safe.
“Jet skis, PWCs and motor vessels can be powerful machines, so always operate your vessel within the limits of your, and your vessel’s, capabilities. Be aware of the presence of other water users and ensure that you are aware of the impact your activities have on others.
“Ensure you have a means of alerting the coastguard if you get into difficulties such as a VHF, handheld VHF or mobile phone in a dry bag.
“A personal locator beacon (PLB) may be useful for more remote locations, along with flares and, where possible, always wear a kill cord which will cut your vessels engine should you move away from its controls or become detached from your vessel.
“Know the bylaws that are in place in the location you are operating your vessel, stick to them and be respectful of other water users. If you see anyone putting others at risk or in difficulty at the coast, call 999 [or 112 in Ireland] and ask for the coastguard.”