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The Port of Tyne, South Tyneside Council, Northumbria Police Marine Unit and North Tyneside Council have come together to establish a marine leisure use management group to ensure the safety of those using the River Tyne for leisure use.
The Leisure User Management Forum brings together a number of organisations to manage the safe use of the beaches and the River Tyne.
The initial work of the group includes the introduction of seasonal beach safety zones, coming soon to Littlehaven and Sandhaven beaches in South Shields. The forum has been established to encourage regular communication between the organisations and communities that share an interest in the use of the River Tyne for leisure purposes.
The new beach safety zones at Littlehaven and Sandhaven, which came into effect in June, will define designated areas within the Tyne estuary for specific activities such as paddling, sailing, surfing and the use of personal water craft (PWCs) in order to allow leisure users to enjoy the river and its beaches safely.
As well as an occasional lifeguard service on the beaches. Northumbria Police, Port of Tyne and South Tyneside Council will conduct regular patrols to ensure adherence to the new guidelines.
Steven Clapperton, Harbour Master at Port of Tyne commented: “The safety of river users is our highest priority, and we want the river and the amenity beaches to be enjoyed by all. By regularly meeting and consulting, we can work together to make sure that everyone who uses the Tyne is able to so safely and confidently.”
Councillor Ernest Gibson is Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council and Chairs the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Coastal Special Interest Group (SIG), of which beach and water safety is a key priority.
He said: “The Tyne estuary and its surrounding coastline are great places to enjoy water sports. But it is important that we balance the needs of all those who use these areas for leisure purposes with those who visit our beaches and bathe in our waters.
“Taking a partnership approach to manage and regulate activities in these areas helps us to ensure that our river and beaches are safe spaces for all. The new beach safety zones will also provide designated areas for people enjoying water sports like jet skiing or surfing, so that they can keep themselves and others safe while riding the waves.”
Suzanne Crossley. Marine Police Unit Sergeant at Northumbria Police commented: “The safety of everyone enjoying our beaches and water spots is a huge priority and we welcome the introduction of new beach safety zones.
“This collaboration between services will help keep people safe and I have no doubt, it may even save lives.
“If you see members of our Marine Unit patrolling the areas and have any questions or need assistance, please always approach us, we’re happy to help and it’s our job to keep you safe.”