SHOCK AS JET SKIS SCARE BROMPTON SWIMMERS OUT OF WATER

EA swimmers were forced from the water last week after jet-skis headed into a popular spot off the Bangor coast.

The Brompton area has become a mecca for people taking a dip in the natural waters off the city’s shoreline, and with the recent heatwave in full effect more bathers than normal have been in the sea.

But last Friday swimmers were shocked to find several people on jet-skis coming dangerously close, forcing them to leave the water due to fears for their safety.

One swimmer said the jet-skiers used danger markers intended to warn people of swimmers in the area as a makeshift obstacle course, racing in and around them ‘as a game’.

Video footage shows the jet-skiers continuing to race around the area after swimmers were back on the shore, criss-crossing each other’s path on the high-powered vehicles.

Said Alison McWhinney from the Belles and Beaux Dippers swimming group: “I was waiting to go into the water when around six jet-skis with two passengers each arrived in the area near Jenny Watts cove, travelling at speed.

“Our swim group is self-funded and have placed four swim buoys 100 metres from the cove to alert craft to sea swimmers.

“The jet-skiers were not only close to two buoys, but then circled around one as a game. Swimmers left the water or moved back to the entry steps for safety.”

Ms McWhinney said she phoned the police over the incident, also sending the authorities video footage of the skiers near the Brompton coast.

“It’s vital jet-skis operate with extreme caution, given that so many areas along the North Down coastline are hot spots for open water swimming and water sports,” she added.

North Down MLA Andrew Muir said he’s worried about the incident, especially as it follows on the heels of similar problems at Helen’s Bay beach.

Mr Muir also pointed out that a new law brought in just a few months ago requires powered craft such as jet-skis to obey the rules of the sea and prevent collisions.

”Anyone operating jet-skis inappropriately can be prosecuted for offences,” said the Alliance MLA.

“If anyone sees jet-skis or other watercraft behaving in a way that’s likely to endanger themselves or other water users, they can call the PSNI via 999 or 101 to report so that police or coastguard can respond and take appropriate action.

“The impact of collisions at sea can be catastrophic, so it’s vital everyone takes their responsibilities seriously and behaves in an appropriate and safe manner.”