Swimmers ‘terrified’ by jet skis off coast at Dun Laoghaire
Coast guard says the three jet ski users involved had no license or training
Swimmers at Seapoint on Thursday. The coast guard said ‘many terrified swimmers stayed out of the water due to the dangerous behaviour’ of two jet skis. Photograph: Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard
A picture from May this year showing jet skis close to the swimming zone near Dun Laoghaire. Photograph: Irish Coast Guard
Jet skis “terrified” a number of swimmers in Dun Laoghaire on Thursday as their riders carried out “high speed manoeuvres” inside the swim safety zone along the shoreline.
The behaviour of the two jet skis prompted more than 100 complaints to the Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard (DLCG) yesterday.
In a statement on its Facebook page the coast guard said two jet skis were “conducting high speed manoeuvres inside the swim safety zone, in and around swimmers”.
Swimming zones in the area are marked with yellow buoys.
The coast guard sent a boat to the scene at Seapoint and used flashing blue lights in a bid to warn the jet ski drivers that something was wrong but this was unsuccessful.
“It was clear that many terrified swimmers stayed out of the water due to the dangerous behaviour,” the coastguard said.
A second, land-based, coastguard unit, which called for Garda assistance, followed the jet ski drivers to Coal Harbour. Three jet ski users, who had no license or training, were notified of local bylaws and maritime offences being broken.
According to Kyron O’Gorman of the coast guard “there are two or three reports nearly every summer [about jet skis]. What is absent all the time is education and training.”
Referencing the fact that the jet ski drivers were not aware of the various safety issues and bylaws being breached, he added that in any training course, “one of the biggest elements is awareness of other water users.”
He said many families who go to the beach or go fishing don’t want to listen to “the roar of a jet ski.”
He added “for every other water user, it raises their eyebrows and puts them on alert.” While the incident happened at Seapoint, across the harbour at the Forty Foot, locals are also dismayed at similar instances which they claim are interrupting their swimming.
Gillian Mills, who describes herself as “a 365 swimmer commended the efforts made of the coast guard but said there was limited space at the Forty Foot, in particular, for swimmers.
“The danger of jet skis in this confined area poses obvious threats, and she asked: “Is it going to take someone to be killed or seriously injured before this is taken seriously?”
“Added to this, many people will swim towards Bullock Harbour for a longer course” although they were “terribly exposed” along this stretch.
Ms Mills said jet skis were not the only problem and said she had “photos of cruise boats coming really close to swimmers.
“That’s terrifying if you’re in the water.”