Daredevil youths disrupt seafront speedboat rides

August 3rd, 2014 | by James
Daredevil youths disrupt seafront speedboat rides
Local News
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A young boy jumps off a seafront jetty in Southend

A young lad jumps off the jetty head-first into the shallow water on Southend seafront.

Speedboat rides on Southend seafront were cancelled today after a group of youths refused to stop jumping off a jetty into the water.

The speedboat rides operate from the Prince of Wales Jetty on Southend seafront, East of the Pier and next to Adventure Island. Access to the jetty is restricted to authorised personnel only but day-trippers regularly go on to it to take photos, walk to the end or to dangerously jump off it into the water.

Although jumping off the jetty may seem to be innocent fun, there are real dangers of the activity. The shallow water below the jetty and any rocks or struts hidden below the waterline are the immediate dangers as jumping in and hitting a hard object can cause serious spinal injury.

On this occasion the group of youths were jumping off the jetty into the path of the arriving speedboat, taking further risks. Operators of the speedboat asked the youths to stop but the group refused to move off the jetty. The decision was then taken by the operators to cancel the remaining speedboat rides for the day as there were serious concerns for the youths’ safety.

Southend Coastguard and police officers attended the scene following reports of the youths’ behaviour. Advice about the potential dangers of the activity was given to the group and they eventually moved on.

Crews from the nearby Southend RNLI lifeboat station have been called to the same jetty in the past to warn people of the dangers of jumping into the shallow water.

Southend seafront jetty

A gate and mesh walls have been installed in attempts to stop people accessing the jetty.

In recent years, gates have been installed at the entrance to the jetty with signs informing the public that access to it is restricted. However they can be easily opened and do not prevent people climbing on to the jetty from the beach either side of it.

The speedboat rides, which cost £4 per person, only operate on specfic weekends in the Summer months when the tide is right and are popular with tourists visiting Southend seafront.

Update: Following this incident, mesh netting has been installed on the sides of the jetty to stop people climbing up onto it when it is closed.