Former Exmouth coastwatch manager rejects slipway proposals

PUBLISHED: 14:30 16 December 2011

Archant

Bill Nash, the former manager of Exmouth coastwatch and a town councillor, is opposing using a seafront slipway for jet skis.

Instead, he believes an area nearer Orcombe Point is more suitable.

Some Exmouth councillors are pushing to reinstate - and upgrade - the Harbour View Slipway, opposite the old lifeboat station.

They say, by allowing jet skis to launch from there and not Belshers Slipway, in the Marina, it will solve a clutch of problems.

It would stop trailers from causing parking chaos in the Marina, improve safety for swimmers using Shelly Beach, decrease noise for residents, protect waterborne plant life and protect the nearby bird sanctuary.

But Cll Nash says that neither the town council, Exmouth Rowing Club, the RNLI or The National Coastwatch Institution have been consulted.

He said: “The Harbour View Slipway is unsuitable. It was designed to be used only by four wheel vehicles towing light boat trailers across the beach to the estuary channel.

“It would not be possible to extend this slipway, or to have cars or vans towing trailers, as the sand is constantly being washed away. At low tide there is a shelf in the beach with a deep drop.”

Councillor Nash said that there were ‘strong and dangerous currents’ in the area and added: “Some jet skis are large which, if swept away could cause injury.”

The area, he said, was fast flowing, narrow, and used by sailing boats, power craft, fishermen, and wind and kite surfers.

The slipway, he said, was used as the entrance to the beach by mums with push chairs: “With families and children the thought of people reversing on to the slipway towing a trailer which may then be left on the beach is fraught with danger.

“This slipway opens directly across the cycle path on to the narrow part of Queens Drive. In the summer there is a constant stream of traffic.”

He warned that once the bowling alley opened, the area could turn this into an ‘accident black spot’.

He said: “Further along the sea front to the east is the designated jet ski water area, with its own slipway.

“It is in a wider and quieter part of Queens Drive and has the benefit of beving opposite the Foxholes car park. Surely this should be investigated as a more suitable slipway for use.”

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