Proposed £150 annual charge to use launch ramps at Herne Bay and Whitstable

Fishermen, jet-skiers, sailors and powerboat users face paying a membership fee before they can enter the sea via launch ramps next year, according to Kent Online.

The plan, by Canterbury City Council, proposes a £150 annual charge for everyone and comes after the authority received numerous complaints about reckless jet-skiers throughout the summer.

Council officers say all those taking to watercraft off Whitstable and Herne Bay should be charged to use the ramps from April 2021.

The plan will be decided upon next Wednesday, but it’s angered the fishing community who say they are being unfairly punished because of the actions of jet-skiers.

Richard Foad

Fisherman, Richard Foad, told Kent Online : “It’s a big new expense. We already pay huge amounts for parking, storage, insurance and having the boat in the harbour.

“When we do maintenance on the boats, we leave them on the beaches. So, to take tools down to them, we use the ramps.

“But now this means we’ll have to pay.”

Local jet-skiers previously hit back at the fee proposal, with Carole Butt saying: “My council tax includes use of local amenities – and the ramp is a local amenity.”

Jet-skis at Hampton, Herne Bay

But the city council looks set to give the scheme the nod at a community committee meeting next week.

If so, £25,000 will be set aside to implement the new measures including installing barriers at five ramps, blocking access. They will only be able to be unlocked, either by key or security code, by those who have registered and paid £150.

Ad hoc visitors planning on using the ramps will not be able to launch, and there will be no capacity to sign up on the day.

While the new charge is set to be introduced for all watercraft users, members of boating clubs will be exempt. A fee to cover council costs would be charged to the club – giving their members free access to the ramps.

Members of fishing clubs such as Herne Bay Angling Association (HBAA) will also be exempt when taking boats out.

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