Boat patrols could return to police Exe's 'boy racers'

PUBLISHED: 09:26 18 November 2014 | UPDATED: 09:26 18 November 2014

 
	Jet Ski High-Speed Photograph Weston

Jet Ski High-Speed Photograph Weston

(c) copyright citizenside.com

Boat patrols could be reinstated on the River Exe to catch speeding vessels on the waterway.

Marina residents want a ban on jet-skis because of noise, environmental concerns and ‘anti-social behaviour’ by some users.

But district chiefs say there are no ‘quick and easy’ solutions and enforcement was the problem.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) is in talks with Exeter City Council and Teignbridge council over the future management of the river.

Councillor Pat Graham, a member of the Exe Estuary Management Partnership, said: “I do hear one or two murmurings that maybe they [jet-skis] could be banned altogether.

“There are one or two people [on the partnership] who are coming round to this way of thinking.

“It seems Teignbridge and EDDC are in talks about what Exeter city’s responsibilities on the Exe are going to be.

“And it seems that they are coming around to the idea that it’s time they took up patrolling the Exe.”

An EDDC spokesman said that a new byelaw was ‘not the remedy of choice’ and would require the consent of the two other councils, adding: “We would also need to consult with water users before coming up with suitable tripartite regulations.”

He said that a byelaw limiting the speed of craft on the water already existed – but could only be enforced if staff with the right training and equipment were available. “The same applies to a rule banning craft from a particular spot – especially when it is a popular and rational choice with owners,” he said.

“EDDC’s preference has been to educate jet-ski users through our part-time beach safety officer and also to encourage the jet-ski fraternity to police themselves.”

He said Shelly Beach was the best place to launch jet-skis, but once the new Mamhead Slipway was completed next year the council would ‘encourage’ water-users to use that instead.

He added: “We will continue to encourage jet-ski users to behave responsibly through education and peer-group pressure, under a voluntary code of conduct, rather than regulation.

“We ask residents to be patient as we seek a medium-to-long-term solution.”

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