The bye- laws on the river River Deben set the speed limits at 10 knots near the river mouth and 8 knots further up river with a bit in the middle where there is no speed limit. This is where we are allowed to ski. The speed limit applies to all pleasure craft between May and September inclusive.
In recent discussions with the River Deben Authority, I was shown an email from Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC) to Waldringfield Sailing Club (WSC) that gave the sailing club and exemption from the speed limit during events organised by the WSC for sailing and rescue craft.
Naturally, I wrote to SCDC to ask whether ESWSC could be granted the same exemption. In a few emails, I pointed out that if the sailing craft were allowed to exceed the speed limit with their limited speed control, direction control and visibility, then the relatively safer speedboats (anecdotally and statistically) should be granted a similar exemption. After a while, they could see my point and I met with their solicitor.
He told me that the sailing club’s exemption was intended for exceptional, special events, not their regular sailing program. I said that we have no objection to the sailors speeding and indeed it was not my intention for their exemption to be revoked, only that we be granted the same. Following the meeting, their solicitor spoke with SCDC’s Strategic Director who decided that there was no reason to exempt people from the bye-laws and that the WSC exemption would be revoked.
I reiterated that a level playing field was my intention but one where we are all allowed to operate at sensible speeds for our sports, not one where we are all restricted by unenforceable bye-laws but understand their decision.