COMMENT: Behaviour gives all jet-skiers a bad name

We're lucky to live by the sea. Being able to enjoy the Solent for recreation is one of life's pleasures and a definite attraction of calling Southsea home.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 27th May 2022, 12:00 am

But in order to do that it requires all users of our busy waters to show consideration towards each other so that they can happily co-exist.

Sadly, that doesn't appear to be happening. We report today how a 63-year-old woman having a Sunday afternoon swim on her own off Southsea beach had a frightening experience when she was confronted by jet-skiers who rode close to her and revved their engines.

The two riders passed safety buoys and entered a designated area for swimmers before scaring Gail Baird.

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She says: ‘I started shouting at them “what are you doing, you’re too close to the beach, get back”. This one guy was giving it large and shouting “we can go where we want”. They were mouthy and verbal.'

As the 5ft 3in swimmer felt threatened by the jet-skiers, her husband, Dan Bernard, and others watched on in disbelief from the beach.

Gail adds: 'It felt a bit like sharks circling me.’

Quite apart from being intimidating, their behaviour was also very dangerous. Swimmers have a designated area precisely to keep them away from other users.

The kind of accident that could happen doesn't bear thinking about.

The other issue is that this kind of behaviour gives all jet-skiers a bad name, when the majority act responsibly.

The good news is that police say they have received fewer reports of anti-social behaviour by people on jet-skis since introducing Operation Wavebreaker in 2020.

But Gail's experiences show that there are still some jet-skiers out there who show no consideration for others and think they own the water.