By Jodie Nesling
Riding the waves on the open sea along Thanet’s stunning coastline has always attracted jet skiers from around Kent and beyond.
The tranquillity of the ocean and the profound sense of freedom is what Jet Ski World owner Darren Moore says made him take on the lease of the Fort Mount site last December.
The 47-year-old says it is a labour of love but one the whole family is invested in and safety is paramount. “You need to respect the sea. Nobody goes out without a life jacket or their mobile phone. Everybody has to complete necessary paperwork including insurance and contact details so we know exactly where our skis are and can monitor them.”
The father of four is also in constant contact with the coastguard and often goes out to assist people in distress; just recently the Margate coastguard thanked skiers for rescuing a drifting dinghy.
But despite adhering to safety rules a number of rogue skiers – who launch from other locations along the coast – have been spotted racing inshore and driving their skis recklessly which witnesses say are endangering swimmers and disturbing wildlife.
Darren says they are appealing to Thanet council to introduce one central launch site to help mitigate the problem or establish a Royal Yachting Association where users must undertake a course before launching from Jet Ski World, though such a move would prove costly.
He said: “Ideally we would like a sort of marine police established to monitor the coastline. But also we need just one place to launch from so that everyone can be monitored properly. At the moment Thanet council have keys to the bollard gates but these can be borrowed from friends and passed around meaning anyone can launch from places such as the Winter Gardens. It’s impossible to monitor.”
It is clear Darren has a huge passion for the sport and says running the business, which includes a popular cafe, has been challenging following Covid restrictions.
“The season starts from around March to October but we didn’t really open until July but since then we have had 200 people through the door and not one incident,” he said.
Having lived in Palm Bay for most of his life Darren says the beauty of the sea and skiing around the coastline cannot be bettered. “You can just forget all your problems. It’s beautiful and we go up to Whitstable and stop at the Neptune or see the Maunsell Forts. People fish off their skis and take their children,” he said.
According to the Riding Personal Water Craft (PWC) Kent guidelines users are required to comply with international regulations for the prevention of collisions at sea and any local byelaws, which may restrict PWC use. It states: “You must always observe local water safety regulations but, as a general rule, must not exceed a speed of 8knots/10mph when your craft is within 300m of the shoreline, unless otherwise stated.”
In an emergency contact the Coastguard on 999 or VHF channel 16.
If you see any PWC rider acting irresponsibly, endangering other water users or breaking the law you should report this by contacting Kent Police on 01622 798565 (Marine Unit) or 01622 690690.
- Beresford Gap, Birchington
- Launching facilities are not part of the water user group. Launching facilities for speed boats, jet skis and waterskiing are designated for members of the Beresford Water Ski Club only. Please contact Leigh Flockhart at email@example.com or 07808 232011.
- Winter Gardens, Margate
- Launching permitted for PWC (jet ski, jet bikes, wet bikes only).
- Palm Bay/Hodge’s Gap, Cliftonville
- Launching facilities are not part of the water user group. Launching for PWC (jet ski, jet bikes, wet bikes only) are operated by Jet Ski World (cafe/showers/ toilets). Fees apply, contact Jet Ski World on 01843 231703.
- Eastern Undercliff, Ramsgate
- Launching permitted for PWC (jet ski, jet bikes, wet bikes only)
Good to hear that Darren has a handle on this. There are far too many rogue jet skiers tearing around Thanet’s coast with no regard for other water users, be they kayakers, boarders or swimmers. And the Pegwell Bay SSSI seems to be a favourite destination.
Enforcement is sorely needed. Glaringly lacking are any contact details for TDC. It seems a bit OTT calling 999 or phoning the Matine Unit in Dover. What happened to Thanet’s Beach Inspectors?
What are the penalties I wonder..seizing and confiscation of vehicles may seem to be the only solution.
Darren is the John Wayne that is needed to calm what has come to be referred to as the Wild West of the South East for personal watercraft.
Not all PWC users are yobs, not all understand the rules and regs. There isnt anyone other than Darren actively trying to promote and regulate these water users, Darren should be supported by the coast guard, police and local council to bring regulated safety and satify the Nimbys and serial complainers and Karens.
I wholeheartedly agree. TDC seems to have given up.
The sea is not tranquil when there are thoughtless jetskiers zooming around near swimmers and other sea users. This problem has got worse over the past few years.
It’s going to take alot more than Darren’s admirable effort to solve it.
Seadoossink – what are Karens? And I don’t think wanting to be safe while swimming is being a nimby.
Google is a wonderful tool, looking up the meaning of Karen will probably sound familiar to you.
Nobody mentioned wanting to be safe while swimming is being a Nimby – just you. MNy comment has been taken out of conext as I said it shouldnt single handedly be up to Darren to regulate or satisfy complaints.
Who do you think the nimbys and serial complainers are then, Seadoossink? I haven’t looked up Karens. I didn’t realize it was a word to look up apart from the name’s origins.I do know a couple of people whose name is Karen but they’re very different from each other.
I can’t see where your comment has been taken out of context.