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Use of Personal Water Craft (PWC) on the Rivers Crouch and Roach

The Personal Water Craft (PWC) Terms and Conditions sets out the requirements and restrictions for the use of Personal Water Craft on the waters within the jurisdiction of the Crouch Harbour Authority which includes all of the Rivers Crouch and Roach.
It is a condition of the issue of a PWC Licence that these rules and requirements are observed.

Personal Water Craft includes jetskis, wetbikes, powerboards and all similar powered recreational water craft. This does not include waterskiing or the use of towed inflatable toys (donuts, bananas and similar) which are subject to different rules.

The rules and requirements come from the Crouch Harbour Act 1974 and the byelaws made by the Authority under that Act. The penalty for breaking the rules could result in prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500 on conviction.

PWC Registration and Licensing

Every PWC must be licensed by the Crouch Harbour Authority before it is used.
The licence fee is £180.00 p.a.

A PWC Licence if granted by the Authority will be valid for a period of 12 months commencing 1st January and expiring 31st December. Licences issued after 1st January are not subject to a reduction of fee for the shorter period.

To apply for a Licence please complete the PWC Licence Application Form and declaration and post it with the original  copy of your Insurance Certificate to:

Crouch Harbour Authority, Harbour Office, The Quay, Burnham on Crouch, Essex, CM0 8AS. Tel 01621 783602. 

How to make Payment

On completion of Application Form payment can be made by telephone using a credit/debit card.  Alternatively send a cheque to the Harbour Office made payable to the Crouch Harbour Authority (please see details above).

The PWC Licence Application Form can be downloaded from CHA's website:

Please be aware that the processing of applications can take up to 5 working days, you will not be permitted to ski until your Licence has been successfully processed.  Therefore we would ask that you ensure that all the relevant documents are submitted as requested on the Application Form in order to prevent any delays.  However, if you wish to fast track your application it can be processed on the same day it is received by the Harbour Office for a fee of £20.00.

You will be issued with a coloured annual PWC Licence Plaque and also an individual adhesive number. It is a condition of licensing that the Authority’s issued annual PWC Licence Plaque and the number is displayed on the PWC at all times.  If your Plaque/Number is not displayed on your vessel you are therefore in breach of the conditions of the Licence which could result in a fine. 

Compulsory Third Party/PWC Liability Insurance

In order to register your vessel you must demonstrate that it is insured covering third party liabilities to cover liability for damage or injury to persons or property with a limit of indemnity of at least £2,000,000. Insurance must be in force at the date a Licence is issued and continued for the period of the Licence.  You will be asked to produce your Original Certificate of Insurance when registering or renewing and you may be asked at any time to do so.

NB: If your Insurance expires during the period of your PWC Licence you will be required to provide your new Original Certificate of Insurance.  Failure to do so will result in your PWC Licence being revoked by the Crouch Harbour Authority and a renewal fee may apply.  It is the responsibility of the Master of the vessel to ensure that the vessel is insured at all times and to provide your updated original certification of insurance upon expiration of  insurance policy.

Other Rules and Requirements

Areas in which PWC may be used

Under the Crouch Harbour Authority Byelaws Water Skiing and the use of PWC's may take place only in the zones or areas permitted by Crouch Harbour Authority.  This is done in the interest of safety on the water, and to ensure an equitable use of the limited water area available by all parties interested in water recreational activities.

The use of Personal Water Craft is not permitted at any time on the River Roach or any of its creeks.

In the River Crouch:

The East Fambridge Ski Area can be used by all PWC drivers.  You do not need to be a member of one of the Clubs.

Please note between 1st October and 31st March, skiing is prohibited on the North half of the river adjacent to Bridgemarsh Island which is an area of Special Scientific Interest.

NB: Bridgemarsh Island: Use of PWC (and all other types of vessel) within the creeks and saltings of Bridgemarsh Island is strictly forbidden.

PWCs must not be used in any other part of the river, but PWCs may navigate directly from a launching place (or if entering the harbour from seaward) to a PWC area and to return provided:

  1. The eight knot speed limit zones within the river are strictly observed.
  2. The PWC is navigated considerately, at moderate speed, with due care and attention and in compliance with the Crouch Harbour Byelaws and the International Rules for Preventing Collisions at Sea, which apply throughout the rivers.

Please see our Water Ski & PWC Information Leaflet for the Waterski/PWC areas, also the speed limit areas which is downloadable from our website

Launching Information

There are only two public launching places:

Hullbridge slipway on the South bank of the River Crouch, and the Public Slipway at South Woodham Ferrers on the North bank (this slipway is very rough/uneven and vehicles may be damaged).  Members of the Woodham Ferrers Water Ski Club have use of the Club's slipway.  Other private boatyard/marina slipways are available to waterski boats including Fambridge Yacht Haven and Essex Marina.  Please be aware there may be a charge for launching.

Use of PWC by Young Persons

The permission to use a PWC is strictly limited to its use by persons 18 years of age and over.  Use of a PWC by a person under 18 years of age would represent a breach of the conditions of the Licence which may result in a fine or the Licence being revoked.

Extracts from Harbour Byelaws

  • No Master of a vessel shall cause or permit such vessel to be navigated in a manner dangerous to other vessels or persons, or without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons.

  • Vessels must not be navigated at any time by a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  • Speed limits through moorings and other restricted areas must be strictly observed.
  • When proceeding to and from the East Fambridge Ski area, PWC’s must navigate at a moderate speed to avoid breaching the Harbour Authority Byelaws.
  • Life jackets or buoyancy aids must be worn by each person. Wearing of protective helmets and wetsuits etc is strongly recommended.

  • All collisions and other incidents must be reported to the Harbour Master.

  • Any person contravening the Byelaws commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to £2,500.

  • The PWC Licence can be withdrawn at any time by the Harbour Authority.


A full copy of the Crouch Harbour Byelaws 1978 can be downloaded via the website or upon request to the Harbour Office.



How to make Payment

On completion of Application Form payment can be made by telephone using a credit/debit card. Alternatively send a cheque to the Harbour Office made payable to the Crouch Harbour Authority.
Completed forms should be sent to the:
Crouch Harbour Authority, Harbour Office, The Quay, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, CM0 8AS