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Jet-skiers could be given number plates in Canterbury City Council plan

By Jack Dyson

A bid to improve safety in the sea off Herne Bay has led to calls for jet-skiers to be given temporary number plates.

Campaigners argue those using the powerful water bikes are more likely to behave themselves if they are easier to identify.

It comes as Canterbury City Council plans to impose an eight-knot speed limit along the entire seafront.

A council has been urged to introduce temporary number plates for jet skis
A council has been urged to introduce temporary number plates for jet skis

At the latest Herne Bay Forum meeting, foreshore manager Matthew Young said the local authority is considering using cameras to help enforce restrictions.

The calls to improve water safety follow the tragic death two years ago of Jordan Lupton.

The 25-year-old suffered fatal injuries when he was struck by a jet ski while being towed in a rubber ring by another.

Almost £9,000 was raised through a GoFundMe page to pay for his funeral.

Speaking at the forum, 30-year-old Craig Longman argued temporary number plates sold to jet-skiers before they enter the sea would make it easier to identify those behaving recklessly.

"If a set of five or six digits were stuck to jet skis, it would mean if they are seen going quickly by people with cameras or binoculars it would make them easier to be identified," he said.

"All the craft look the same, but if there’s a number on them a member of the public, Coastguard or police will be able to see the jet ski behaving poorly and they’d be able to report it.

Craig Longman spoke at the Herne Bay Forum
Craig Longman spoke at the Herne Bay Forum

"If the council charges for the numbers, it would make back the money to cover the admin."

Beltinge councillor Jeanette Stockley and newly elected West Bay representative Peter Vickery-Jones backed the idea.

Cllr Vickery-Jones added: "If you’ve got the ability to make jet skis identifiable, it’s more likely they’re going to comply.

"It’s rather like how someone with an obscured number plate would speed past a camera without worry, but if they’re easily identified, they’re going to behave."

Mr Lupton’s mum Therese also believes the idea could improve safety, but called for further restrictions to be introduced.
"At the inquest it was all put down to freak weather," she said.

"There should be certain measures put in where, if the weather’s iffy, a flag is put up and people aren’t allowed into the water.

Jordan Lupton was killed in a collision involving a jet ski in Herne Bay
Jordan Lupton was killed in a collision involving a jet ski in Herne Bay

"Towing things off the back of jet skis should also be a no-no.

"I would hate anyone to go through what we’ve been through - it’s been horrendous."

Mrs Lupton will launch a petition over the next week calling for stricter measures to be introduced.

A public consultation on the council’s proposed changes to seaside by-laws, which have not been updated since 1995, will remain open until September 1.

In addition to the proposed speed limit, the authority is hoping to introduce lifeguard swim areas and a direction of travel in transit lanes and to review the widths of the lanes.

Read more: All the latest news from Herne Bay

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury

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