Lives being put at risk by slipway chaos

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 October 2011

Weston Slipway, being abused.

Weston Slipway, being abused.

LIVES are being put at risk by the 'bedlam' being caused by boat-owners leaving their trailers on the slipway to Weston's harbour.

North Somerset Council introduced a permit scheme for owners at the slipway next to Knightstone Island earlier this year, but one regular user says boat-owners are simply leaving their trailers near the slipway.

Sailor and Weston Bay Watersports Club member Chris Reeves says the trailers are a health and safety hazard, and could also block emergency services vehicles which may need to use the slipway.

The council’s scheme, which began on April 1, was introduced to ‘ensure the safe use of the slipway and Weston Bay’, with permit holders bound to agree to the regulations and code of conduct.

But boat and jet ski trailers are often left strewn across the slipway while their owners are sailing in the harbour and the Severn estuary.

Mr Reeves said: “It is absolute bedlam at the moment, there are trailers everywhere. At the club we stick to the council regulations and make sure that our trailers are parked in the right place, but other people are just not paying attention to the rules, which could be dangerous.

“It only takes one trailer being knocked into another, which could hit anyone who is around on that part of the seafront and there could be a really serious injury.

“I have not seen anyone checking up what is going on at the slipway, and I think the council needs to monitor it really closely as people are flouting the rules and it has just become a free-for-all to be honest.

“What if an ambulance desperately needs to get to the slipway to pick someone up? It could be a matter of life and death.”

The permits, which can only be bought by people with insurance for their vessel, range from £35 for an annual single user permit to £10 for a day single user permit.

A spokesman for North Somerset Council said: “We would urge people who use the slipway to make sure they have a permit, and have it available for inspection.

“Whenever possible we have a ranger who checks permits, and we have also clamped people who have parked their trailers in the wrong places and we will continue to do this. Other people have been banned from using the slipway if they are found to be abusing it.”

Applications for permits are available to download from www.n-somerset.gov.uk or from Weston Tourist Information Centre on 01934 888849.

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