Thanet council says new barriers installed at the Margate Harbour slipway are to prevent unauthorised access and irresponsible parking blocking the area. The slipway is used by the RNLI to launch lifeboats.
When drawing up the council’s Beach Management Plan, which was introduced in July, this area was identified as a place where people frequently launch water bikes, which is not permitted. Launches at this location not only obstruct access for the RNLI but also compromise the safety of swimmers.
Throughout the summer, significant council resources were used to prevent access at the location. Using intelligence gathered by council CCTV operatives, the Duty Beach Supervisor and TDC Civil Enforcement Officers regularly attended the slipway to prevent a number of groups of jet bikers from launching at the site. Staff were able to direct the groups to the designated launching sites instead.
Anyone wishing to launch watercraft along the Thanet coast needs public liability insurance and membership of the Water User Group.
It is hoped that the new barriers will also reduce the number of vehicles attempting to drive onto the beach, at a risk of being stuck on the sand.
There are four designated parts of the Thanet coastline where water bikes are allowed to launch, including sites in Margate and Ramsgate. Full details can be found on the council website.