Swimmer calls for greater safety after jet ski incident

A man has called for greater security for swimmers on Shoreham Beach after near misses with jet skis and kitesurfers.

Tuesday, 28th June 2016, 12:48 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:15 am
Will Flewett has had enough of jet ski users and kitesurfers using the safe swimming area near Shoreham Beach. Picture: Derek Martin

Will Flewett from Shoreham is a regular user of the beach and goes swimming three or four times a week.

But in the last month, the 63-year-old has been nearly hit by a jet ski and a kitesurfer that wrongly entered the safe swimming zone.

These should be marked by buoys, but according to foreshore inspector Mike Kerley, several of these are missing because they are damaged or have come loose.

Now Mr Flewett has asked the beach office to reinstate these at once to prevent an accident from occuring.

He said: “It’s certainly not very clear. There are no lifeguards around and only a few patrols. It’s called a safe bathing area but it isn’t safe at all, especially with all the kitesurfers. It makes me a little bit nervous to go swimming again.”

With the incident with the jet ski, Mr Flewett said it passed within 20 metres of him.

“The problem is because the jet ski was going so fast I couldn’t get a registration number and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

“There’s nothing to stop them coming in closer. They like showing off and the buzz I would think.”

In response to Mr Flewett’s complaint, a spokesperson for the beach office said that in addition to buoys and notices which mark the safe swimming area, there is a land-based beach patrol by community park rangers.

In addition, they liaise with staff at the jet ski hire shop in Shoreham Harbour which instruct their clients of the safe zones.

But Mr Flewett said he has never seen rangers in the Shoreham Beach area, and he is not reassured by the existing safeguards.

“It doesn’t reassure me at all. I can’t say how well they instruct them, but clearly they can’t have any idea where the jet skis will be used.

“They have to rely on the individuals that borrow them to use them properly.”

A spokesperson from Adur District Council said it had instructed contractors to inspect the swim zones and to replace any missing buoys, with work scheduled for Thursday.

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