Personal Watercraft (PWC) Terms & Conditions
These Terms & Conditions set out the requirements and restrictions for the use of Personal Watercraft on 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.
PWC includes jet skis, wetbikes, power boards and all similar recreational watercraft. PWC’s are not permitted to tow inflatable toys (donuts, bananas and similar).
NB. PWC’s (Jet Skis) are not classified as a tender and require a PWC Licence.
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 £195.30 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.
Please be advised that you must upload the applicable documents listed below which will be required to process your application:
• Photograph of Vessel
• RYA Personal Watercraft Certificate of Proficiency (Applicable to New Applicants)
• Code of Conduct (voluntary)
NB. You are not required to provide your Insurance Documentation. However, to register your PWC, you must have third party liability, to cover liability for damage or injury to persons or property, with an indemnity limit of not less than £3,000,000.00.
To Renew your PWC Licence:
Please use the Self Service Portal to make Payment using our Online System.
To apply for a PWC Licence:
Please use the Self Service Portal and complete the Online Form available from the Check and edit my boat(s) status section and make Payment using our Online System.
Please click here to complete the PWC Licence Application Form and make Payment using our Online System.
Please be aware that the processing of applications can take up to 5 working days, you will not be permitted to use your PWC until your Licence has been successfully processed. Therefore, we would ask that you ensure that all the relevant documents are submitted as requested to prevent any delays.
You will be issued with a coloured annual PWC licence plaque and an individual adhesive number (this number is unique and should remain on your vessel until it permanently leaves the area). It is a condition of licensing that both are displayed on your PWC at all times. Failure to comply is a breach of the conditions of the licence which could result in a fine. N.B. The coloured annual PWC licence plaque should be displayed on the front of the craft.
RYA Personal Watercraft Certificate of Proficiency
New applicants are required to provide CHA with RYA Personal Watercraft Certificate of Proficiency.
Other Rules and Requirements
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) introduced new legislation in March 2023 regarding all Powered Watercraft.
The full text can be found in the Marine Guidance Notice:
MGN 684: Safety of Powered Watercraft regarding the Merchant Shipping Watercraft Order 2023.
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 PWC 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.
Please click here for Speed Limits and Designated Water Ski Area
NB: Bridgemarsh Island; Water skiing and use of PWC’s (and all other types of vessel) within the creeks and saltings of Bridgemarsh Island is strictly forbidden.
PWC’s must not be used in any other part of the river, but PWC’s may navigate directly from a launching place (or if entering the harbour from seaward) to the PWC area and to return provided:
• The eight knot speed limit zones within the river are strictly observed.
• 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.
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). Please note that you have approximately two hours either side of high water for launch and recovery from the public slipways. Members of Woodham Ferrers Water Ski Club have use of the Club’s slipway.
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.