A Personal Watercraft (PWC) is a small recreational boat propelled and steered by a directionally controlled water jet. The Rider (Master) stands, kneels or sits astride a seat similar to that on a motorcycle. A powerful motor drives a impellor, which sucks water through a scoop grating in the hull and expels it through a nozzle linked to the handle bar type steering mechanism.
Key PWC Characteristics:
- High power to weight ratio, giving rapid acceleration and high top speed.
- Responsive Steering, giving good maneuverability.
- Buoyancy, modern machines designed to be unsinkable in normal use and easily righted.
- No external moving parts.
- Safety Lanyard to cut engine if rider falls off.
PWC’s are fast and fun and are easily launched and manoeuvered on and off of the water. Their use is now an established form of water sport with a band of enthusiastic participants who enjoy the performance this kind of craft can provide. However, most PWC use takes place in the close inshore zone and harbours. This poses a management challenge to ensure PWC users can enjoy themselves without risking the safety and enjoyment of others.
Shoreham Port Authority (SPA) considers that suitably experienced and trained PWC users pose a medium to low risk if used responsibly. Working closely with Sussex Marine Water Sports Ltd. and The Harbour Club (SPA current designated launch sites) to manage these craft effectively.
Shoreham Port Authority requires each craft to:
1. Register owner details with SPA, purchase Harbour Dues and display a valid Harbour Due plaque on the craft.
2. Hold third party liability insurance of at least £2 million.
The Master (rider) of a Personal Water Craft is required to:
1. Launch only from sites designated by the Harbour Master, and pay a fee to the site operator.
2. Be at least 16 years old.
3. To be in possession of a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) recognised PWC qualification.
4. Report any incident to the Harbour Master, whether directly involved or witnessed.
5. Where safe to do so, navigate straight to sea and not up river as per the attached diagrams.
6. Obey all Harbour Byelaws, General Directions, SOLAS requirements & Collision Regulations, ensuring they navigate and manoeuvre in a safe and courteous manor.
7. Assist the Harbour Master and his representatives in the investigation of any incident within the Harbour or approaches.