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Calls for River Tay jet-skiing rules to be enforced amid safety fears

A jet-skier in Broughty Ferry harbour
Jet-skier in Broughty Ferry harbour.

Calls have been made for rules around jet-skiing in the River Tay to be made clearer and enforced following “alarming” behaviour in Broughty Ferry.

Scared locals and visitors say jet-skiers are encroaching on swimming areas of the water and breaking speed limits.

Last weekend the behaviour of jet skiers at Broughty Ferry beach front  was highlighted and since then more people have come forward with concerns for public safety.

John Lorimer, who was at Broughty Ferry harbour last Saturday, was shocked by the behaviour of jet-skiers and feels the situation is worsening.

A jet-skier in Broughty Ferry harbour.

John was so shocked that he reported the behaviour to police.

He said: “I was in the harbour on Saturday with my wife and there were nine jet-skiers in the harbour and their behaviour was quite shocking.

“There were three small rowing boats out in the water and there was a father with a daughter in a kayak.

‘Someone’s going to get killed’

“At one stage they were trying to come into the harbour and the wave that the jet-skiers were creating – it was almost swamping the boats.

“One of the rowers in the boat I heard spoke to one of the jet-skiers and all they got was a mouthful of abuse, it was really bad so that’s when we contacted the police.

“The situation is getting really disgraceful at the Ferry, it really is, and I think someone’s going to get killed before something is done about it.”

Jet-skiers at Broughty Ferry harbour.

John feels that more should be done to prevent accidents due to jet-skiers and believes that the authorities should do more to regulate their behaviour.

What are the rules?

Signage at Broughty Ferry beach and harbour highlights the areas and maximum speed limits in which people using jet-skis, speed boats or any other powered crafts should comply with.

Four signs show the designated area that is off limits to jet-skiers along the beach front at Broughty Ferry named the “swimming zone” which is 400 meters from the beach shore and runs the whole length of the beachfront.

The signs also display the maximum speed limit within certain areas of the River Tay, which includes within the harbour, and is max five knots (5.7 mph).

Signage at Broughty Ferry beach and harbour advising regulations for jet-skiers.

Joachim Neff called for action to be taken against jet-skiers in the River Tay a year ago and has since been battling with Dundee Council and Forth Ports to see more be done about dangerous jet-skiers.

He said: “Last summer I was subject to intimidation by jet-skiers at Beach Crescent and since then I have tried to get the three responsible authorities – Police Scotland, Forth Ports and the city council – to take some effective action for the safety of all water users.

“My impression continues that really, those who are supposed to be involved, that being the authorities, don’t want to.”

Calls for voluntary code of conduct

Joachim says that he would like to see a voluntary code of conduct put in place for jet-skiers similar to one in place at Perth Harbour.

This highlights acceptable areas and hours for jet-skiers, as well as duration on the water, number of users, number of occasions on the water, noise reduction and speeds, among other rules.

Joachim thinks that better signage and patrolling would help solve the problem of dangerous jet-skiers at Broughty Ferry beach and harbour and would ensure the safety of others.

A jet-skier at Broughty Ferry harbour
Jet-skiers at Broughty Ferry harbour.

Anne Rendall, the council’s neighbourhood services convener, said: “Our outdoor spaces will play a big part in our lives this summer.

“It’s very important that places like Broughty Ferry beach remain safe at all times so everyone can enjoy them.

“Anyone who is considering engaging in the sort of behaviour with the jet skis we’ve seen recently at the beach should be more considerate of the many people who are taking in the outdoor space safely and responsibly.

“I appeal to those using jet skis to be respectful to local residents to have fun this summer and to give careful thought to their activity in a way that minimises noise in and around the harbour and beach areas in order that we can all enjoy our local environment and minimise the potential to harm others in this area.”

A spokeswoman from The Port of Dundee (Forth Ports) said: “We have not had any reports of any safety or navigation issues at Broughty Ferry but we will continue to work with Dundee City Council, Police Scotland and other local partners on safety.”

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said the force is “aware of concerns” and is providing “suitable advice and support”.

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