Michelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)
Dangerous jet ski use will result in prosecution this summer season
Dangerous jet ski use along the coast this summer will result in prosecution after the introduction of new legislation ahead of the summer season.
Mid and East Antrim councillors have been told that new legislation is being introduced by the Department for Transport to prosecute “dangerous and negligent misuse of water craft”.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has been granted more powers and the Merchant Shipping Water Craft Order will come into force on March 31.
This means that water craft users will be bound by the same laws that apply to ships in order to help prevent accidents and will give the Maritime and Coastguard Agency greater power to prosecute those responsible for causing accidents.
Anyone riding a jet ski recklessly or causing harm to others could now face up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.
An increased number of jet skis has been reported on the east Antrim coast, particularly at Ballygally, which has prompted a warning over safety.
Safety advice was also issued by the council over the use of jet skis at Fisherman’s Quay in Carrickfergus.
Meanwhile, a slipway registration scheme has been introduced at Portglenone Marina and Newferry at a cost of £30 for users annually after concerns were raised about the use of jet skis.
There have been issues of jet skis travelling to Portglenone Marina from Newferry. The local authority does not permit jet ski use at the Portglenone slipway.
Councillors were told at a meeting of the Direct Services Committee last week that Newferry Water-ski Club has reported that the river now feels “much safer” as a result.
A digital locking system has been placed on the slipway barriers which can be unlocked via a mobile phone app. Currently, there are 112 users.