“SIGNIFICANT drop” in dangerous jet ski riders and anti-social behaviour on the water in Southend after major crackdown.

Essex Police has confirmed there has been a 45 per cent drop in water-based anti-social behaviour along the coast of Southend this year so far.

This is half that of 2022, despite a significant increase in users since the Covid pandemic.

It comes after specialist Marine Unit officers carried out additional dedicated, high-visibility patrol in hot spot areas during peak times in spring, summer, and autumn this year.

Officers also issued the first two fixed penalty notices in the country for infringements of the new water-based public spaces protection order in Southend this year.

One saw a Rawreth man fined £100 for being the owner of a personal watercraft (PWC) launched into a restricted area.

James Courtenay, councillor responsible for public protection and community safety, said: “It is really pleasing to see that with everybody working together it has been a success.

“It is not the easiest thing to police but it officers have communicated to people that they know action can and will be taken.

“Those wanted to use watercrafts need to know it has to be done in a responsible manner as we want the beach, foreshore, and sea to be safe for all to use.”

Officers added that their main focus is on water safety, both for personal watercraft riders and other water-users who may come into near contact with them.

Sgt Alex Southgate said: “There are very few accidents involving personal watercraft in Essex and we want to keep it that way.

“We want to help visitors to stay safe while enjoying the many attractions our beautiful coastline has to offer.

“We try to educate PWC-users about safe riding, particularly those new to the activity. Most of them heed our advice. But some do not and then we take action.”

For the past three years, Marine Officers have also run Operation Wave-Breaker which shares the risks around personal watercrafts.

Sgt Southgate adds: “It is the third year we have run Operation Wave-Breaker and so regular visitors are now more aware of local water byelaws and the risks that speeding personal watercraft pose to other water-users.

“And it is this increased awareness which has proved such a success. We encourage people to report dangerous water-based activity to us so we can take action and we work with local councils, which are responsible for the byelaws, to prosecute offenders whose behaviour has put themselves or others at risk.

“This helps to keep people safe when they visit our coast in Essex.”