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Harbour swimmers risk prosecution and £5,000 fine

Friday, 23 July 2021

Swimming in harbours and jumping into channels used by vessels accessing ports around the Isle of Man will not be tolerated following a spate of dangerous activity. 

The Harbours Division of the Department of Infrastructure is urging people to be sensible while sending a clear message that it will have no alternative other than to prosecute offenders. 

Following reports from the Isle of Man Constabulary in respect of behaviour in the area of Port Erin’s Raglan Pier, steps are being taken to close the area in order to prevent increasingly dangerous and antisocial conduct of swimmers. 

Director of Harbours Mark Kenyon said:

‘Unfortunately the offences are now not only related to swimming but also to disorder and in some instances vandalism. Safety notices and lifesaving equipment are being defaced, damaged or removed completely and such behaviour cannot be allowed to continue. 

‘The seaward section of the Raglan Pier will be inaccessible to the general public unless they are directly involved in vessel operations including excursion trips. This closure is directly due to continued disregard for safety advice and by-laws, and the aggressive conduct of a minority.

‘This action is not taken lightly, and is made with apologies to those who enjoy the amenity value of the harbour, but reflects the level of concern which the activities are now causing.’ 

Infrastructure Minister Tim Baker MHK said:

‘The Harbours Division has raised strong concerns once again and I fully support this measure in the interests of public safety. 

‘A similar measure had to be brought in at Laxey last year, and I urge people to be aware of the dangers associated with harbours and refrain from activity which involves jumping or swimming in these busy working areas.’ 

It is an offence under the Harbours Act and by-laws to swim, bathe or dive from any harbour pier or any part of a harbour which lies within a pier head. 

The by-laws give the power to instruct people to leave the harbour areas and failure to comply with any instruction given by a Police Officer or officer of the Department of Infrastructure can lead to prosecution and a fine up to £5,000.

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