There have, for many years, been concerns about watercraft (especially personal watercraft/jet skis) at Studland and Swanage Bay. Water safety is an ongoing issue that requires a collaborative approach across a range of different organisations.
Swanage Bay: the key issues
- Open water swimming – Swanage Bay has seen a growing interest in open water swimming with an increased number of people taking part and swimming along the bay. There is an ongoing issue that some personal watercraft (PWC) vehicles/jet skis are coming into the area too fast and putting swimmers at risk in the bay.
- Personal watercraft/jet skis often stop around the stone pier to go ashore for refreshments in the pub and then back out to sea. It is also not unusual to find PWC users on the beach (meeting friends) before returning to the water.
- The Parish slipway – is a free access point with what is thought to have historical access where cars reverse with jet skis/ small boats on a trailer. This area around the slipway and on the slip way itself is often very congested (especially in summer) with lots of people walking, sitting, crabbing in this area.
- Lack of signage – signs are missing or out of date.
- Noise from power boats and jet skis – this is an issue primarily at the north end of Swanage Bay due to the shape of the bay and the refraction from the cliff.
Studland Bay: the key issues
The National Trust own Studland Beaches (Knoll, Middle and South Beaches) up to low mean water.
Personal watercraft/jet skis are not allowed to launch anywhere at Studland. There are a few no boating zones that are for swimmers only (small yellow buoys from the shoreline) but not enough to accommodate all swimmers as realistically swimmers go in the water near to where they are sat. The key issues at Studland include:
- South Beach is the main issue for jet skis with speeding vehicles going along the cliff towards Old Harry Rocks. There is a disregard for the bylaw (see bel0w) and marker buoys by some.
- Noise is an issue mainly towards South Beach.
- The marker buoys too far apart for people to see.
- There are often large gaps along the beach due to access to the different beaches at Studland and this is thought to encourage boats/jet skis to speed as users assume in the gaps there is no risk to people. There is a different perspective from the beach as these gaps/quiet areas are often preferred by some visitors.
- Signage is poor and out of date.
Dorset Coast Forum