Saturday, July 13, 2024

Essex Police Marine Unit mounts 413 hours of extra patrols to keep visitors safe

ESSEX Police marine officers have been mounting extra high-visibility patrols along the Essex coastline to help keep water-users safe.

Despite summer taking a long time to arrive this year, says Sergeant Alex Southgate, of our dedicated Marine Unit, things started to ‘hot up’ last month.

“We start Operation Wave-Breaker in April, patrolling anti-social behaviour hotspots at peak times,” he explains.

“Initially, we saw far fewer people than usual but, as June got warmer, we started to see more people heading to the coast and getting out on the water.”

Between the start of April and 30 June, marine officers have spent an extra 413 hours on patrol, mainly engaging with personal watercraft (PWC) riders, powerboat drivers and sailors, explaining our PWC Code of Conduct and outlining local water byelaws.

“We want people to enjoy the many attractions that the Essex coast has to offer so we are keen to engage with people,” says Alex.

“We educate them about the local water byelaws for our area and our PWC Code of Conduct because our overall concern is for their safety.

“However, we won’t hesitate to report for prosecution water-users who put their own safety, and that of others, at risk by ignoring the designated speed limits.”

Operation Wave-Breaker runs from April until the start of September each year in Essex. In its first three months this year, marine officers have stopped and spoken to the riders of 55 PWCs and seven powerboat drivers.

So far, one powerboat driver and five PWC riders have been reported for breaching local byelaws. Prosecutions are brought by local councils.

You can access the PWC Code of Conduct on the Essex Police Marine Unit webpages at www.essex.police.uk/marine Here, you can also find out how to report dangerous activity and anti-social behaviour.

Always call 999 in an emergency. But, when you are on the coast, do consider whether you need the police, coastguard, fire or ambulance service.

If you experience or see dangerous activity or anti-social behaviour on the water, report it online at www.essex.police.uk/ro. Alternatively, you can ring 101.

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