Harbour master’s kitesurfer concern over Exmouth ‘dopes on ropes’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 October 2019 | UPDATED: 12:07 18 October 2019

Kitesurfer. Picture: Getty Images

Kitesurfer. Picture: Getty Images

Marcin Kilarski

The new harbour master has raised concerns over ‘dopes on ropes’ clashing with boats in Exe Estuary at Exmouth.

Grahame Forshaw, who was appointed to the role in July this year, told Exmouth Town Council's October meeting he had fears over kitesurfers crossing channels being used by boats and other vessels in the River Exe.

He also told councillors that during the summer months there can be as many as 70 kitesurfers on any given Sunday afternoon.

Mr Forshaw said: "I do have concerns about dopes on ropes flying in front of boats.

"I've done a kitesurfing course and medalled in the activity but I'm aware the wind doesn't come in one set direction.

"The problem with kitesurfers is they can only go in a specific direction in relation to the wind."

He said introducing restriction zones on kitesurfers would be problematic as he is not sure how they would enforce that.

Mr Forshaw told councillors he is looking to 'educate rather than legislate' water users and that speed limits are in place 'for the good of all'.

He said: "We are aware of some of the anti-social behaviour that goes on off the front in Exmouth and that is something we are really looking to address as soon as we can.

"We've already started that - since we've started we've put patrols out at weekends, we've been speaking to people.

"As we come across a boat that is going too quickly, or in an area it ought not to be, then we would approach the boat calmly and point out what they should be doing and an area where they should be doing it."

Councillors were told that the harbour authority was in the process of obtaining a new patrol boat which would be used to carry out surveys on the water.

He said: "What we are looking to do with our new patrol boat is get the right survey equipment on.

"Come the start of the year, we can go out and do a local survey of the channels and publish that information so people will have a better understanding of where the deeper bits of the water are."

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