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Jet-ski law change could lead to prosecutions

08 Jul 2023 2 minute read
A jetskier near a dolphin. Photo WDC

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

Conwy County Council believe they will be in a stronger position to prosecute ‘reckless’ water-sports enthusiasts riding jet skis after a change in the law.

Speaking at a Conwy harbour advisory committee meeting this week, councillors heard how jet skis are once again classed as ‘vessels’, enabling local authorities to take action against those riding dangerously.

According to Conwy’s harbour master Matthew Forbes, Gwynedd County Council is among the first authorities in the UK to try and bring about a prosecution in line with the new law, and Conwy County Council is watching keenly.


“Members will be aware we have had lots of issues with jet skis over the years with reckless and dangerous behaviour,” Mr Forbes told the harbour committee.

“The problem was there was a court case a number of years ago that decided jet skis were not a vessel in terms of the Merchant Shipping Act so that harbour authorities and port authorities couldn’t bring any prosecutions.

“This was an anomaly. Industry has campaigned for a change in the law. It finally happened, and the new amendment came in on 31 March, which means local authorities, like ourselves, can now prosecute jet skiers when we believe that beyond reasonable doubt that they’ve engaged in reckless behaviour.”

Mr Forbes added: “There was an incident just after the law changed in Gwynedd where someone was seriously injured, and my understanding is that they are going to be one of the first authorities to bring a prosecution, so it’ll be interesting to see how they get on, what standard of proof should be beyond reasonable doubt for what the courts expect, and I’ll update members in due course once that comes to conclusion.”

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

Prosecute the dangerous ones but applaud those that the ILB crews will attest are often the first responder…

1 year ago

About time ! Ynys Môn , coastal and inland rivers plus llyniau in Conwy, Denbigh and Gwynedd have to put up
with these city folk every summer. Out of the city and out of control. Blocking lanes and scaring wild life and birds plus a l danger to swimmers and even small sail or rowing 🚣‍♀️ boats .

im not a kill joy but would suggest safe and reserved areas with their own parking 🅿️ at a price the council feels right. Perhsps also a register via the Wales Gvt plus an insurance check ?

Emrys Jones
Emrys Jones
1 year ago

Jetskiers in Australia are generally regarded as ‘hoons on the water’ or ‘bogans on a water bike’ due to their disregard for the safety and the enjoyment of other people and wildlife. This is unfair on the minority who are responsible, who obey the rules, 5kph in estuaries, and within 100 metres of the shore. Police conduct blitzes periodically to bring them in line.

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