LETTER: Fears over jet skis off coast

I am writing to ask for your help towards protecting sea swimmers from jet skis and speed boats in the sea particularly from April through to October.

These vessels are frequently seen in moving at very high speeds and are often in groups. Whilst sitting on the beach I have seen them speeding close to the shoreline and through the middle of the pier.

Members of the group I regularly swim with, Eastbourne Sea Swimmers, feel that the chance of one of these vessels hitting and killing or seriously injuring a swimmer/s is an accident waiting to happen as the jet skis are going at such a speed that by the time a swimmer is spotted in the water it could be too late to stop before a collision takes place.

The visibility is reduced still further if there is chop in the water making it potentially more dangerous.

Although we are a group, every swimmer has their own pace in the water and over the longer distances we cover in the summer months it is very common for swimmers to be on their own during parts of the swim, making it even less likely that they will be spotted by somebody driving at high speed.

In previous seasons many of us have taken our own precautions such as using brightly coloured safety buoys however we still have real concerns about this issue.

In my opinion these vessels do not need to be close to the shoreline and could enjoy driving at a fast pace in deeper waters where the chance of a collision with a swimmer would be greatly reduced.

We have raised this with a local councillor in the past and asked if buoys could be placed along the beach on both sides of the pier as is the case in the many seafronts on the south coast but were told this was not possible due to financial considerations.

Our Facebook page currently has 327 members and there are other groups who also swim along this stretch of the coastline regularly. By protecting swimmers and other members of the public when they are in the sea we are also encouraging people of all ages in the town to live a healthy and active lifestyle.

Holly Manktelow,

Snowdon Close