Bank Holiday sunshine once again brought sun seekers flocking to the St Anne’s beach. However families paddling in the shallows and swimmers splashing 200 yards from the shore shared the surf with several jet skis cutting through the waves.
At high tide 6 jet skis were counted around the Squires Gate entrance to the beach, adjoining the boat club, riders speeding off, with the familiar jet ski whine, towards St Anne’s and Blackpool.
Interesting facts about jet ski use are that it is not necessary to own any kind of licence and there are some rules about use, which operate more like a set of respectful guidelines.
At the time of writing, it was only possible to find this note online about speed limits in the local area: ‘Proceed at a safe speed having regard to tidal conditions and other users.’
Jet skis are a relatively new addition to the Fylde coastline. A beach user watching the speedy crafts remarked, “There was nothing like this in the sea when I was a kid; going to the beach was a calmer experience”.
Exciting though they are, jet skis do not come without risk. Several people worldwide, every year die from jet skis and many more are horrifically injured through collisions with other craft and swimmers.
Last year, the seaside resort of Brighton had many near-miss incidents with jet ski and swimmers and paddling holidaymakers – one narrowly missing an oblivious small child, whilst horrified beach goers looked on.
During the high tide, whilst the jet skis were out, the local coast guard drove onto the beach, patrolling it from between 3 to 5 minutes, before exiting the beach up the concrete ramp.
There are currently no safety guidelines targeting jet skiers or other beach users (about jet ski risks) on signs close to, or on, the Squires Gate beach.
By Debra Preston Helle