Council plans for order restricting activities on coast and reducing ‘powered water craft’ launch areas

Restrictions include reduce areas where powered water bikes can be used

Thanet District Council is planning to introduce a new Beaches and Coast Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) which will put in measures including a ban on vehicles and a partial ban on bicycles on isle promenades.

PSPOs are only to be used to protect communities from unwanted anti-social behaviours and are only enforceable where there is reasonable evidence to do so. Breaking the rules is a criminal offence which could result in a Fixed Penalty Notice.

The PSPO will reflect and replace the existing bylaws, with minimal changes to the current rules. It is due to come into force on March 18 and remain in force for three years.

What will the PSPO cover?

The PSPO will cover nine key areas, the majority of which are the same as the byelaws that are currently in place. Below is an overview of the PSPO rules.

Vehicles – No motorised or electric vehicles may be parked or driven on the promenades or beaches.

Bicycles – At any time of year between the hours of sunrise and sunset, and from 1 May to 30 September inclusive between the hours of 10am and 6.00pm, a person shall not ride any cycle on any of the promenades where localised signage requires you to dismount.

Bonfires, Barbecues and large gatherings – Bonfires are not permitted on any of the council’s land at any time. BBQs are not allowed on any of the council’s land, however they are permitted on beaches after 6pm. Large gatherings are not permitted on the council’s beaches without prior permission. Large groups of 20 or more need to seek permission from Thanet District Council. Permission to have BBQ’s on Joss Bay at any time of the day will be removed. Joss Bay will have the same permissions in place as other bays (BBQ’s allowed after 6pm)

Begging, Touting, Hawking, Selling – Begging, Touting, Hawking, Selling is not permitted anywhere on Thanet’s beaches, promenades and coast.

Horse riding – Horse riding is not permitted – between 1st May and 30th September, between the hours of 9am and 7pm on beaches or promenades.

Encampments – Camping or the erection of any structure (this includes but is not exclusive to vehicles, tents, yurts and any other temporary building) being used to occupy land is not permitted on beaches, promenades, clifftops, nearby green spaces, car parks and surrounding areas of the public realm without prior consent of the Council, with the exception of sunshades.

Preaching, lectures, music and entertainment, sporting events, other events – Lectures, speeches, sermons, live music, busking and other types of entertainment performances/shows are not permitted, unless prior permission has been granted

Other actions which have a detrimental impact on the quality of life of others in the locality, and which could result in a fixed penalty notice – Urination, defecation, spitting or littering. Drinking alcohol in a public place- after being told not to. Ingesting, inhaling, injecting, smoking or otherwise using drugs/substances.

Beach recreational activities and water sports – Beach users are expected to adhere to the set of Coastal and Beach ‘Codes of Practice’ set out by Thanet District Council.

Water craft restrictions

A second part of the proposals is the decision to reduce the number of areas that Powered Water Crafts (mostly Jet Skis) can launch unsupervised from.

All public launch sites will be restricted and membership to the Water User Group for owners of these crafts will not be available. If a PWC user wants to launch in Thanet they will be able to do so from existing clubs including:

Either Jet Ski World or the Beresford Water Ski Club (day rates and membership may be required)

Ramsgate Harbour (once launching/mooring fees are paid. Daily rate available)

Any individual joining a club will be expected to follow their rules, which may include:

Not removing the silencers from their machines or carry out any other modifications to the exhaust system

Display the unique registration number for PWC

Be over the age of 17

It’s also desirable for the individual to hold the PWC proficiency qualification which is a one-off, one day course costing around £160

Other changes affecting PWC users

The Ramsgate Western Undercliff slipway will no longer be used for fishing boats

The Walpole Bay Bathing Pool is for bathing only, no watersports or craft are permitted.

Water User Group

An annual membership fee applies to become a WUG member. On signing up to our water user group individuals agree to abide by the Council’s rules and regulations. Any breach of these will result in their water user group membership being terminated, with no refund. They will also face the same financial penalty as any breach of our rules incurs under the PSPO.

Examples of breaches these penalties will apply to include:

The copying of issued barrier keys

Leaving barriers open for non group members to access

Launching of craft that is not permitted at a particular site

The use of craft in a manner that poses a risk to the safety of people or wildlife

The use of craft in a manner that has the potential to cause harassment, alarm and distress to any other beach or coast users, or residents

Cllr Steve Albon, Cabinet Member for Operational Services at Thanet District Council said: “The proposed new PSPO and rules for PWC owners and Water User Group members provides us with an opportunity to make our foreshores and coastline safer and more enjoyable for all of its users.

“I would encourage anyone who spends time on our fantastic coastline to read the proposals and provide us with their valuable feedback.”

Have your say

Share what you think about the introduction of the new PSPO’s by completing the online form or email [email protected]. The consultation will run from now until February 21.

The results of the consultation will be presented to Cabinet for a final decision to be made in March.


  1. About time too!

    What is the council going to do about kite-surfing, another activity which endangers other sea and beach users?

    • Marva – This is a load of tosh from a Labour Council. Over the many years I have lived in Thanet, these measures have been tried and failed due to lack of resources to Police such rules. Checking of certificates of insurance at Minnis Bay before launching a boat is classic example of non policing. More bull shine I am afraid.

      • I don’t care if it’s a Labour council or not. But I would like to know whether they have considered painting lines on the promenade to segregate pedestrians and cyclists; also, there is no mention of controlling dogs on the promenade-they (the dogs!) should be on short leads in areas with pedestrians of all ages, as well as being near bicycles.

        • Well it did mention that bikes will be barred from promenades. It didn’t mention which ones though, just that notices will be put up. Dogs are supposed to be kept on a leash anyway so should be controlled. They are not allowed on many beaches throughout the summer, again notices will be put up if not already.

          If a change from byelaw to PSPO is going to work then there needs to be immediate response with enforcement action wher it wasn’t before.
          We had all this PSPO stuff with drinking alcohol on the beaches and promenades a couple of years back but there was no enforcement put behind it so the problem continues. I can’t see any of this working. Again I feel it is a meaningless response to the public after an eventful season last year where multiple issues were brought to the attention of TDC with no effect. Year after year goes by with no difference. The same toilets are closed and the same mess appears on the beaches.

      • They are absolutely dangerous and should be banned from Walpole Bay tidal pool too. It’s impossible to swim safely when the tidal pool has one or more kite surfer dashing at speed from one end of the pool to the other.

  2. What resource does the Council have to enforce these proposed regulations? If that is not done then the whole matter will fall into disregard and be ignored by the many visitors that come to the area, particularly, but not exclusively in the summer months

  3. “At any time of year between the hours of sunrise and sunset, and from 1 May to 30 September inclusive between the hours of 10am and 6.00pm, a person shall not ride any cycle on any of the promenades where localised signage requires you to dismount.”
    If this restriction is applied widely, then it will render many of Thanet’s cycle paths useless. Large parts of the Viking Trail and National Cycle Routes 1 and 15 will become useless.
    What happened to the £2M grant to KCC to provide better facilities for walking and cycling?
    Is it not possible to demarcate the really wide promenade ms and esplanade with cycle lanes, restricting bikes to a particular part?

    • There is almost nothing new here. These cycle restrictions on the promenade already exist at Westbrook, St Mildred’s and West Bay, although the hours may be slightly longer. These are, or should be, maintained by the Beach Wardens, although they can’t issue fines and also they are not employed for the full 6 months.

    • Families with young children need safe places like promenads to cycle on safely, and scooter and many more wheeled activities, let sensible be and caution the irresponsible

      • Couldn’t agree more. I am an aging and arthritic cyclist, so feel very scared to cycle on the road. Please Thanet Council – don’t punish those of us that behave well, because of those that don’t

  4. Without finding/allocating the money for an adequate beach warden presence to properly monitor jet ski’s intentionally &/or ‘accidentally’ buzzing swimmers & enforcement getting involved, this, most unfortunately, really isn’t the response necessary to safeguard beach users & the environment alike. Along with many hundreds of beach goers at Walpole Bay, over the past few years, and particularly during the summer of 2020, we have witnessed jet ski use which poses a direct threat to the safety/wellbeing of swimmers & the environment – TDC need to heed the electorate’s 1st hand testimony on the chronic dangerous behaviour of powered water sports vehicles before life changing injuries &/or fatalities occur – public warnings afford TDC all the foresight needed to mitigate what is an accident simply waiting to happen. It is no overstatement whatsoever to state that ongoing concern is community wide & TDC would be wise to acknowledge this by closely monitoring motorised water vehicle use from Jet Ski World, before this ongoing liability ends in someone’s child, parent, friend, relative being killed.

    • Excellent comments, Matt.
      I’m sure there must be some responsible jet skiers somewhere, but almost by definition they are not the ones we see and hear.
      The proposal to have them launching from Ramsgate harbour, situated between an SSSI and a bathing beach, busy with commercial craft and recreational boat users, is crazy.
      I agree that without enforcement, none of these regulations will be of any use whatsoever.
      Will Ramsgate’s Harbourmaster be given his own jet ski, with a blue light? Or will he be expected to stand at the end of the pier with a megaphone?

    • You are absolutely right Matt Shoul. It seems as if swimmers are bottom of the list as far as their welfare goes, at the moment.

  5. For many years the council has managed to try and do something about the coastal codes were set up by the Thanet Coast Project. Already in place regarding barriers along Margate seafront from the nayland to the turner new gates were installed by TDC one by Manning’s the other one behind the turner keys were never supplied the council may have problems with traders at the sun deck as they drive their cars and vans on to the promenade as the gate there is always left open that one has a lock.council vehicles are allowed for reasons if workers closed the gate and lock it after themselves there wouldn’t be a can go to far with people and some of these Draconian measures as for cyclists the Viking coastal trail will be irrelevant I thought the council are promoting healthy ways of getting about. Enforcement is entirely impossible unless money is spent on controls. Only problem here is signs of a police state.

  6. This is long overdue and jet skis either need a total ban, or they need to pay launch fees which cover the costs of enforcement/patrol/safety.

    The jet skis on Ramsgate main sands last year were a menace and huge safety issue. Plenty were launched down the ramp by the large car park and straight into the water where swimmers were plentiful. There is a small pathetic sign on the prom which asks jet skis to go in the water to the left of Ramsgate main sands and every single time this is ignored.

    I reported one user and no action was taken.

    There is no doubt that someone will die or be seriously injured.

    • I’ve raised the issue with councillors many times. They helpfully give me the telephone number of the Dover Police (marine section)!
      There is no enforcement. Ramsgate does not have a Beach Inspector on a permanent basis, though I did see a temporary roving Inspector who appeared to be a schoolboy on Work Experience and was totally ineffectual.
      I think the legitimate jest ski community needs to step up. At the moment it’s getting a very bad press.

  7. Being proactive rather than the opposite, good move by tdc.

    Hopefully we are not in lockdown for much longer. Looks like were in for another season of more than usual stay locationers visiting our lovely coastal areas.

    PSPO’s are only as good as how they are enforced, Tdc needs sufficient trained qualified personnel on the ground. Train up some your own staff and use secondment.

    PSPO is a start, it could have been more restrictive but its a start.

    • As a keen cyclist (who has cycled the route past Reculver many times) I couldn’t agree more.
      I’ve lost count of the times I’ve almost been bulldozed off my bike by a lycra clad urban warrior, with absolutely no warning at all. A quick ting on the bell, or a quiet “bike behind!” warning would make all the difference.

      • I agree. I am a keen cyclist too but there are many cyclists who don’t seem to realise that the promenade is used by everyone and cycling should only be at a leisurely pace. If the lycra clad urban warriors want to go flat out, there is a road for that. Same goes for the electric scooterists who are breaking the law wherever they go.

  8. Here’s an idea, why don’t we ban swimmers from one beach and let jet skis have free use of that one beach. Give them somewhere with easy access and hopefully they’ll stay away from all the other beaches. Draconian measures for cyclists, best we all stay at home in lock down.

    • Jet skiers don’t actually need a beach. They just need vehicular access to a ramp, which could be anywhere on the coast; fir example a rocky foreshore unused by swimmers.

    • Once in the water they go where ever they like, shattering the peace and quiet and harrassing bathers – jet ski’s are an unregulated menace that should either be properly controlled or banished from Thanet waters.
      On another point, where do electric bikes fit into this?

  9. Cyclists are already told to dismount at certain spots near beach huts in Thanet.

    As other people have said, it won’t be enforced. TDC haven’t even got enough staff to clean the area up let alone enforce these sort of rules.

  10. So much here to get indignant about vehicles not allowed on the promenade or beaches, does this mean we will no longer see Thanet District council vehicles parked up for no apparent reason, or refuse lorries getting stuck when taking a joy ride on the sands.

    Ambiguity is councillor Steve Ablon, proposing the complete prohibition of cyclists along the promenades.

    And where is the proposal to stop those who believe that their annual beach hut rental, also entitles them to occupy most of the promenade with windbreaks deckchairs and a flippin barbecue. With their children running wild, and elderly relatives scowling at those who’ve dared to attempt to navigate what’s left of the promenade.

    To the citizens of Thanet please keep calm and carry on, and just ignore Cllr Albon’s request for feedback. You’ll only encourage more nonsense.

  11. If all vehicles are banned how are the lorries going to move the beach huts at the beginning and end of the season and how are the owners to get the contents to and from their huts (normally one visit at the beginning and end of the season). This has not been a problem in the past at Minnis Bay as the Bay Warden controls access.

  12. I hope jet-skiing and kite-surfing won’t carry on locally for much longer, as the beaches they use are definitely much less safe for other users at present.

  13. Where does one begin . For starters the noise pollution from the jet ski users is terrible probably powered by diesel or petrol which is really no any event their use is not suitable where people are swimming, or simply out for a relaxing time on the beach.
    One could continue criticising the littering, dog fouling problem, inappropriate cycling evangelising on the beach, the blasting out of music and use of diesel powered generators and the general inconsiderate and bad behaviour of some “groups “ on the beach. The use of portable barbecues from both a social and environmental point of view has no place in a town where the council has passed a climate emergency motion but Their use is accepted, where is the common sense in that? Bring the local authority powers up to date by all means , but without enforcement as previously noted and without effective use of beach wardens and policing of the beach and promenades all the above will continue.
    Despite the pressure on budgets TDC will have to invest in front line staff to deal with these problems if the beaches post Covid are to be worth visiting or to be a viable tourist attraction.

  14. Need to stop picking on people who do water sports PWC so on. they do more good than bad. Thanet has many beaches but very few slipways. Sun bathers & swimmers always seem to pick the few lunch slip ways then feel they have the right to complain about a hobby they don’t wish to understand. Ask yourself why do you have the need to go to a beach where water sport activates are done?. Are many of you aware of how many jet ski riders rescue kids and adults including dogs that have run into trubble. Also, the rubbish riders pick up from beach users leave tide takes out because many are lazy to take home. Problem is you put all jet skis in one place IE jet ski world you then have a ticking bomb too much traffic then bad things will happen spread apart easies traffic. Thanet is a coastal town you cant escape or be trying to damage coastal activates everyone has the right to enjoy themselves so pick your location well-to-do so. Swimmer if you’re going to swim right out then obey the rules and attach swimming buoy so water users can see you. to much negative comment on what some dont understand. The word selfish comes to mind.

    • “The word selfish comes to mind”
      It certainly does.
      Ramsgate’s Main Beach is (from time to time) a Blue Flag beach. It is a main tourist destination for holiday makers, day trippers, visitors and locals. It attracts old and young alike. The beach and the sea are alive with swimmers and bathers, paddle boarders and kayakers.
      Why on earth should they have to take precautions such as attaching buoys to themselves to alert jet skiers WHO SHOULDN’T BE ANYWHERE NEAR THE MAIN BEACH! There’s a sign at the Winterstoke launch site that directs jet skiers to the left, away from the Main Beach. But a fat lot of notice is taken of that (or any other regulation).
      Maybe you’ve wondered why just about every comment on here about jet skiers is a negative one?
      It’s because people are sick to death of these noisy and frankly dangerous machines tearing about through our bathing water and our conservation areas.

      • The sign near Winterstoke beach needs renewing and simplifying. But basically, people who don’t care about the safety of others should be banned from our beaches. Windermere’s local council has banned jetskis- easier for them of course, as it’s a lake. But the precedent is there.

        • Windermere also within a National Park making things very easy to prohibit/control. You can put signs up until the cows come home in Thanet and they will make not a jot of difference unless area is ‘policed’. Providing official launch sites and requiring mandatory insurance to be produced within TDC controlled areas would be a great help, but again, needs enforcing. When you have lived longer in Thanet Marva, you will realise the great amounts of hot air expelled over the years by TDC Councillors have amounted to zilch in reality, and actions, all remains the same.

          • Having read Private Eye for decades, it’s plain that the flaws mentioned by Fedup B are far from unique to TDC. I have lived here for nearly 10 years and what I don’t understand is why the alleged illegalities which some people have been writing about on public forums for years have not been investigated thoroughly and stopped.

    • Water sport with wind-or other powered equipment is amodern introduction. Swimming is not.

      People want to go to local beaches, they’ve been doing so for centuries. Many people can’t actually get to other beaches easily. Not everybody has a car.

      People with jetskis and kite-surfing equipment, however, need a car or van to transport their equipment

      Please let me know when the rule that says a swimmer must attach a swimming buoy to their swimsuit came into force- I have never heard of this before, and I have been swimming in the sea since I was five. (I am now 69.)

      I and other swimmers understand very well that jetskis and kite-surfing are a danger to other water and beach users.

    • I don’t think anyone wants to ban PWCs outright but rather discourage their use in areas where there are lots of swimmers. Last year there was a real issue with riders going at high speeds in Margate Harbour and Ramsgate Beach where they were going perilously close to swimmers. I think or rather hope the council’s plan should be to give them safe places to launch away from swimming beaches. Once away from the shore they are not a problem but there needs to be designated spots where they can launch and return safely.

  15. Jet skis use Marine grade engine oil that’s harmless to marine life.
    2 thinks jet skies owners must do before placing ski in the water is start it makes sure its running after exiting the water starting get the water out travailing across the water well that’s inevitable but not load as the exhaust is underwater unless your being really picky. Then you may as well complain about fishing trawler anything else you can think of water and road. Skis don’t have boat propeller that chop up fish or kill if run into life at low speed due to having a jet pump up in the hull. as for rule breakers well they are everywhere on the beach leaving their rubbish so on and yes few none locals who don’t know the rules of the water lunching from many places and travelling. it’s like this if you hate jet skies and other activates then you hate them no more to say about that i personally hate moaning people drug dealers and drunks people who leave rubbish on the beach.
    People who are bathing in the 8 knots speed limit between the yellow buoys should not be there. Common sense should be used in a PwC Lunching area that also goes for not setting up camp or sun bathing in the line with a slipway thats in use but i do blame that on lack of signs for none locals. Not many people are aware that many skiers pay TDC for use of the very few lunching locations that are now left in Thanet limiting their travels also.
    OPEN WATER SWIMMING: SWIMMING WITH A SAFETY BUOY outside bathing areas is and should be a well none rule for swimmers. Swimmers are not exempt from safety rules SAFETY BUOY: VISIBILITY helps other water and land users spot you to avoid you also if you run into trouble. Plenty of websites out there give you more information.

  16. Jet skiers (and other water sports that involve fast moving craft) absolutely should not be anywhere near swimmers in the water.
    Keep the things away from the Main Beach, and swimmers will be safe.
    Keep the things away from Pegwell Bay, and the wildlife will be safe, too.
    Or maybe the seals should wear “safety buoys”, too

  17. I take my children paddleboarding in the Walpole Bay tidal pool as it is safer than the sea. It is such a wonderful healthy hobby for them and a lot of local kids. Please don’t take that away.

  18. I am an aging and arthritic cyclist, with a hearing impairment. Because of this, I feel very scared to cycle on the roads. The shared paths on the proms allow me to carry on cycling to work and to visit family in the area, I would not be able to do this if forced onto the road. I am always careful and considerate and slow right down if there are children or dogs running around. (Not that I can or do go fast anyway – I’m regularly overtaken by joggers!) I have to say there are some pedestrians that aren’t very courteous, particularly regarding allowing space for all to pass with safe social distance, it is fairly regular that I stop/turn off a path for someone, only to get a comment about ‘bl**dy bikes’. I know there are selfish and dangerous cyclists out there, and I would be the first to want them cautioned and removed from the paths as they are a menace to us all. But please Thanet Council – don’t punish those of us that behave well, because of those that don’t

  19. Walpole bathing pool is big enough for swimmers, paddle boarders and kayaking and many people can regularly enjoy it responsibly without council enforcement. I can understand the concern with kite surfing in there and speeds in which kite surfers can and could reach without any real control.

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