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Jetski Ban Proposed for Clare Would Hamper Rescue, Groups Warn

6th April 2021
The Irish Tow Surf Rescue Club has also objected to a jetski ban
The Irish Tow Surf Rescue Club has also objected to a jetski ban Credit: ITSRC via Facebook

Water Safety Ireland has expressed concern about a proposal to ban the use of jetskis from a number of popular beaches on the Clare coastline.

As The Times Ireland edition reports today, Clare County Council proposes prohibiting the launching of all personal watercraft – as in jetskis – along with fast power craft, and power craft from Lahinch beach.

The draft bylaws also cover well-known west coast beaches at Miltown Malbay, Spanish Point, Doonbeg, Ballycuggeran (Killaloe) and Ballyallia lake near Ennis.

Additionally, the use of inflatable toys on all beaches in Clare may be banned under the proposed legislation, given the risks posed by their use and the number of incidents involving young children.

Water Safety Ireland (WSI) chief executive John Leech told the newspaper that jet skis or personal watercraft have proved invaluable in coastal rescue – particularly off the busy Clare coastline.

WSI believes zoning beaches for water users is preferable to an outright ban, he says.

The Irish Tow Surf Rescue Club has also objected to a jetski ban, while several of its members have registered personal opposition with Clare County Council.

The club has over ten jetskis equipped as rescue craft and has over 80 members. It has provided safety support to maritime events, including triathlons and open water swimming events off the west coast.

The club’s chair, Peter Conroy, who is a fireman, trained lifeguard and award-winning surfer, has worked with the emergency services for the past 17 years.

Conroy said that no personal watercraft owners in the Whitestrand or Spanish Point areas were consulted about the bylaws.

Conroy and others initiated the club in 2006 after an incident where he was surfing beneath the Cliffs of Moher in Clare and was trapped. He had to swim through 20-foot waves as jetskis used for towing surfers were unable to reach him.

He and his colleagues realised they should be able to train to rescue themselves.

Training has been conducted with the Irish Coast Guard, and the club also works with local swim groups in safety and in supplying the local community with life-saving equipment, including defibrillators, he said.

The British government is considering national legislation to classify jetskis as vessels – requiring their legislation and subjecting them to maritime laws covering all craft.

Clare County Council said its draft 2021 beach bye-laws are “ not scheduled to go before the members (councillors) for adoption until May at the earliest”, and it said it would be “ premature at this time to comment”.

Read more in The Times Ireland edition here

Published in Jetski, Water Safety Team

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