Town council agree to part fund sea buoyage in bid to keep swimmers safe from powered craft users
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A line of yellow buoys marking a no-go zone for jet skiers and power boat users could be put in place in Exmouth thanks to town council funding.
At its virtual meeting on Monday (September 14), Exmouth Town Council discussed a request from the Exeter Port Authority to pay £2,500 for 15 yellow buoys to keep swimmers between Maer Rocks and Orcombe Point safe from powered craft users.
Grahame Forshaw, harbour master for the Exeter Port Authority, said a number of complaints from swimmers have been received this summer about jet skiers coming towards them in the water.
If funding is agreed, the buoys would be put in place around 200 metres from the shore in March and removed in October.
The town council agreed to pay 50 per cent and ask East Devon District Council (EDDC) to pay the other half. Should the district council not agree to pay, Exmouth Town Council will fund the buoys in full.
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Speaking at the meeting, Mr Forshaw said jet skiers are advised to stay at least 200 metres away from the shore but ‘clearly many people haven’t got the message’.
He added: “It’s so easy to get disorientated when you’re on the water, especially in a small power craft. You don’t realise, because these craft go so fast, where you are in relation to where you ought not to be.
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“If there was a clear line of buoyage on the water, it would act as an aid to help them realise where they ought not to be.”
Councillors raised concerns about the policing of the buoys.
Mr Forshaw said only two full time staff are working for the port authority and they cannot be out on the water all the time but would be willing to train volunteers to supplement their work.
Cllr Fred Caygill proposed that EDDC provides 50 per cent of the cost, saying it would be ‘churlish’ for the town council to pay the whole amount as the district council is responsible for the foreshore.
Councillors voted in favour of Cllr Caygill’s proposal with an amendment that if EDDC cannot pay the other half, the town council will pay the full amount.