Concern raised over jet ski use along Antrim coastline

An increasing number of jet skiers on the east Antrim coast has prompted a warning over safety.

There have also been reports of swimmers jumping into the sea at Glenarm Marina from the new pontoon, councillors have been told.

The issues were highlighted at a recent meeting of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Direct Services Committee.

Coast Road Alliance councillor Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna reported an increase in the number of jet skis, particularly at Ballygally.

Concerns have been raised over the use of jet skis along the Antrim coastline.

She also highlighted swimmers jumping into Glenarm Marina.

“Jumping into Glenarm Marina from the pontoon – there is potential to have an accident occur”, she said.

She has asked for warning signage to be put in place for jet skiers around the Ballygally area, particularly in the vicinity of the “Bear” rock.

Coast Road Sinn Fein Councillor James McKeown commented: “There is a sign along the promenade in Carnlough giving advice to what should or should not be done on the beach but it is about BallygallyBeach. It has been taken from Ballygally and placed in Carnlough.

“We would like to see one of our own. Ballygally can have that one back.”

Last month, the council issued safety advice at Fisherman’s Quay in Carrickfergus where jet skiers were told to launch from the left side and swimmers to enter the sea from the right.

Paddle boarding is permitted at Carrickfergus Harbour but not at the marina. 

Portmuck Coastguard has warned that Muck Island in Islandmagee is a place to be “avoided by kayaks and paddle boards as there are treacherous currents at the north and south ends.”

In two separate incidents, Larne RNLI  was tasked to paddle boarders who had got into difficulty at Ballygally and at Brown’s Bay.

The council’s Operations DirectorPhilip Thompson told the committee of a “very serious incident, a crash involving a jet ski” in April and reported “near misses” involving jet skis and paddle boards.

Commenting on the dangers of paddle boards previously, Larne lifeboat operations manager, Allan Dorman, said: ‘We would like to remind people of the dangers of offshore winds and cross winds, which can very quickly pull someone further out to sea.

“Always have a way to contact the shore, or to have someone on dry land, who can raise an alarm if difficulties should arise.’”

by Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter