Sunday, 6 March 2016

Arrive at Five

We are very lucky to have such a wonderful coastline and waters around Swanage and Studland.

The waters are open to all types of users from swimmers to power craft users but the mixture does bring its problems.

For that reason the District Council has a 5 knot safety zone in place from about Easter to September to protect swimmers and non powered craft close to the shore line.

The District Council,Town Council , Dorset Police , HM Coastguard, RNLI, professional boat owners and the maritime community all work very hard to ensure our area remains safe for all to use.

This year , Swanage Coastguard will be promoting the " arrive at five campaign " and want users to be responsible when close inshore and to observe the 5 knot speed limits.

The key partners are regularly meeting to discuss things like the replacement of the ageing buoys and signage at the launch site.

Dorset Police along with other enforcement officers will be carrying out speed checks and along with HM Coastguard be offering strong words of advice and failure to comply could lead to prosecution.

Spread the word, keep our shore lines safe.....ARRIVE at FIVE knots.


Mike Hadley said...

A perennially difficult subject.

As ever, WHO will enforce this?

The marine police are rarely, if ever, present. When I once had occasion to call them for a deliberate threat to me on the water, they called me back three hours later.

The land-based police decline to get involved. In my personal experience, they say it's not their responsibility. Yet surely they could apprehend obvious offenders when they reached shore? Unless they are prepared to do this, the efforts of observers (Coastwatch, Coastguard, RNLI, leisure boat operators, town council enforcement officers, ski school, etc) are meaningless.

In the past, the operator of the ski-school had some responsibility for this, but I understand he had no authority to actually arrest anyone or impose any sanctions. Nor does it seem fair to give responsibility for this role, which involves challenging sometimes aggressive people, to someone who is over 70 years old, who can only attend to matters when he is not involved in the running of his business on the water.

I am not aware that anyone has ever been prosecuted for dangerous speed-related behaviour. However it happens, it seems to me that what is needed is at least one case of prosecution that is widely publicised to act as a deterrent.

It would also help to have clear signs at all launch sites, with a clear map, and with details of fines. The existing signs are completely inadequate. It would further help to have more information on the actual 5mph buoys. Just having '5' is not enough; perhaps they should at least read '5 mph speed limit'. Of course, it doesn't help that it is difficult to know what '5 mph' feels like, so perhaps some thought could be given to trying to explain this (for example, by saying 'walking speed') on the land-based signs.

But I hope progress can be made. There have already been serious injuries (I have witnessed at least one instance myself), but it is perfectly possible that deaths may be caused if this practice continues.

Anonymous said...

That's good news. Can we also do something about the area north of sheps hollow where last year we came across many groups of jet skiers bombing along right on the shoreline . I came across so many worried families . When I approached the offenders they claimed that area is a free zone . Unfortunately it is used by families and swimmers too

Swanage Coastguard said...

Thank you for those observations, this is about us as a community along with the public authority, (the District Council ) that enforces the bylaw to work together through education that it's 5 knots. Ensure you advise your District Councillors how important having this is and for the up keep of the buoys and signage . Together we will all work together to make the area safer.