Jetskiers chasing ferry put themselves at risk

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Onlookers were horrified when they spotted three jetskiers chasing a ferry and fishing boat in Oban Bay.

The jetskis were reportedly seen to get dangerously close to a Mull ferry, speeding round it then using warning buoys to  nip in and out and between before doing the same again with a fishing vessel.

No one was hurt but the skiers were putting themselves and others at risk, said a spokesperson for CalMac.

‘For the safety of all water users, we would urge jetskis to keep a safe distance from the ferry at all times. If the ship’s master believes there is a likelihood of a hazard to navigation, they will sound five short blasts on the horn. If skiers hear this they are potentially putting themselves and others at risk and should move away.’

Oban’s harbour office added: ‘It’s open waters so there are no regulations but we are looking in the future to getting a wider authority in Oban Bay where we might be able to bring in legislation.

‘We get a couple of occasions every summer season where jetskiers are irresponsible but it has  been no more of a problem this year. We are doing a lot to reach out to jetskiers and small leisure craft users and we do have a code of practice we hope people will take heed of.’

The website designed to provide practical up-to-date information to all bay stakeholders and users, as well as provide a procedure for reporting incidents and near misses.

The code of practice includes two cautions that small vessels should avoid the channel that runs through the centre of the north entrance to the bay and keep clear of the CalMac pier area when ferries are moving.

Iain MacKinnon, of Oban Coastguard, said: ‘The bay is so busy now that people really do have to take every care. Those jetskiers who were seen chasing the boats were putting themselves and others clearly at risk.

‘The big boats can’t stop or turn quickly and people should respect that. There’s space for everyone in the water but people need to show respect for each other and stay safe.’