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Swimmers in Kingsdown fight against jet ski use of ramp over safety issues

Swimmers in Kingsdown are fighting to stop the use of jet skis off a nearby ramp because of concerns over danger.

Kingsdown Crawlers is a club of about 50 people who swim regularly near the Zetland Arms.

They have used the spot for about three years, many of them practising for Channel attempts or other endurance swims.

Kingsdown Crawlers Swimming Club are opposing jet ski use of the ramp because it is a danger
Kingsdown Crawlers Swimming Club are opposing jet ski use of the ramp because it is a danger

The jetty they used was destroyed by a storm two years ago, but has recently been replaced and updated by Dover District Council.

The council is now exploring the option of allowing crafts such as jet skis to use the ramp, which the swimmers say could lead to serious accidents.

Dave Chisholm, of Wheelwrights Way, Eastry, who organises the swimming sessions, has sent a letter of objection to council leader Paul Watkins, saying if the idea is not shelved he will start a petition.

Mr Chisholm said: “It’s an incredibly dangerous plan and would almost certainly lead to terrible accidents.

“This has been a traditional swimming area for decades. We swim here because there are no rip currents or under tides and the promenade is quite high giving us a good vantage point.

“The beach huts, promenade, houses and pub front garden are very close to the water’s edge.

“Residents, visitors and their children are in immediate earshot of potential noise pollution, and would be at risk of collision if swimming or in boats.”

Keith Watson, corporate estate and coastal engineer for the district council, said two individuals had expressed an interest.

Mr Chisholm added: “If the jetty is advertised, it will encourage more to the area.”

He pointed out that another jetty was available further up the beach and there were other designated areas for the craft along the coast including in Thanet.

Swimmer Jason Hansell said: “Encouraging jet skis in Kingsdown will inevitably lead to serious accidents causing injuries or death.

“I’ve witnessed speeding close to the beach and swimmers and people riding backwards, not taking appropriate care.

“I also have concerns for the environment. There is a resident seal who is a tourist attraction. He would likely be scared off.”

Swimmer Dave Chisholm
Swimmer Dave Chisholm

Swimmer and Deal physiotherapist Shaun Roper said: “Their use is notoriously unregulated. You don’t need to pass a test or have a licence for a jet ski. Anyone could turn up with a friend, think they can handle it and something go wrong.”

Nearby residents are also concerned.

Jennifer Jacobs, 60, of North Road said: “My main concern is that the roads down here are all private.

“People will park and leave their trailers outside people’s houses. It could block the road for ambulances.”

Kingsdown Angling Club committee will be discussing the issue at its next meeting in July.

Dover District Council spokesman Andy Steele said: “We understand the concerns of swimmers and, as we have stated, we are only exploring options at this stage.

“We continue to work hard to ensure that public safety remains paramount, to invest in facilities for the future, and to consider the interests of all members of our communities.”

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