Jet ski idiots are 'bullying swimmers and boats in Plymouth'

Jet skiers who speed close to swimmers, buzz small dinghys or cause trouble to military vessels in Plymouth Sound, the River Tamar and the River Plym are set to be targeted in a new crackdown. Following a worrying rise in complaints about antisocial behaviour by the motorbikes-of-the-sea, police say they are taking a co-ordinated approach to tackling the issue, partnering up with the Queens Harbour Master, Cattedown Harbour Commissioner , Ministry of Defence Police and Plymouth City Council Safer Communities Team to each bring their special areas of expertise to the fore over waterway issues. Pc Glenn Hawkins, who co-ordinating the plan, said: “Jet-skiing has been identified for some time now as having a disproportionate amount of complaints made against this sport in comparison to any other group using the water.

“The main areas of concern are using excessive speed, dangerous manoeuvring in designated navigation areas and criminal offences including criminal damage and public order offences.

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“Anti-social related incidents are also increasing when the users of such craft are spoken to about their behaviour. “I must at this point make it as clear as I can be, by-and-large most jet-ski users act in a responsible way and when they are spoken to about these incidents they feel tarred with the same brush because of a few users who ignore the rules. “As for actions taken so far relating to nuisance jet skiers, vehicles have been seized, prosecutions secured and more prosecutions are in the pipe line.

“Enforcement will be ramped up this year with potential seizures of jet skis should the offences match the criteria.” Over the past few years Plymouth Live has reported on a number of incidents which highlight how antisocial behaviour by some jet-skiers can cause nightmares for waterfront residents or even tragic consequences.

Jet ski idiots are 'bullying swimmers and boats in Plymouth'Billy James with his girlfriend Morgan Schween

Just last month we reported on the tragic death of 22-year-old Billy James who died in jet ski accident off the coast of Teignmouth. Last July we reported on how one antisocial jet ski user had his truck seized after police received numerous reports of people causing problems on the River Plym.

In 2018, PlymouthLive joined the Ministry of Defence Police marine unit as they patrolled the waters around Plymouth as part of their role protecting HMNB Devonport. At the time Insp Tony Micallef revealed that his team of armed officers were often called upon by the public to tackle antisocial behaviour by jet-ski owners, some of whom paid very little heed to speed restrictions or bathing spots. He said: Insp Micallef said: “We communicate information we receive with our colleagues at Devon and Cornwall Police, such as the description of the jet-skis, any trailers or vehicles linked to them.

There is a transient nature to these boat-users because they sometimes just visit the once during the summer or turn up on rare occasions.

Jet ski idiots are 'bullying swimmers and boats in Plymouth'Out on the water with the MoD Police’s Marine Unit

“Added to which, unlike our counterparts on land, it’s not as easy to pull someone over on the water. A lot of what we do is about education, explaining the various rules of the water, encouraging people to act responsibly and share the water.” Pc Hawkins said the issue had, for unknown reasons, recently increased and the different agencies were bring brought together to firstly educate jet-ski users – but with the option of enforcement if such education fails to see a positive response.

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He said: “We will be exchanging information on a daily basis on people who have come to our attention and we would very much like to encourage other water users, residents or members of the public who see antisocial jet-ski owners in and around Plymouth Sound to come forward with any information – a description of the incident, time, location, any identifying markings or clothing or even registration numbers of vehicles used to transport the jet-skis.”

Jet ski idiots are 'bullying swimmers and boats in Plymouth'The MoD Police Marine Unit at the Tamar Bridge

“Consultations are also under way to look into placing CCTV cameras at slip ways in order to promote water safety.”

Click here for more about how not to be an antisocial jet-skier.

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