Officer monitoring the bay Photo: Kent Police

Kent Police has launched a multi-agency operation to protect seals and other wildlife from being disturbed by jet skis and other vessels in Pegwell Bay.

On Sunday 6 August 2023, officers from the Rural Task Force used their drone to monitor the area, following reports that the marine animals who live in the bay by the mouth of the River Stour had been disrupted by reckless water users.

The officers worked together with Thanet District Council enforcement officers, Kent Wildlife Trust and the Harbour Master for Sandwich to ensure the animals’ habitats were left free from harm.

The drone footage captured by the police showed groups of seals resting on the shore and in the water, as well as various species of birds. The officers were able to identify any potential offenders and intervene if necessary.

PCSOs from the Rural Task Force Team have also been visiting sites in Sandwich and in Thanet to educate users of jet skis about the importance of responsible use.

As the area falls under a Public Space Protection Order, anyone found riding them in a manner which poses a risk to wildlife can be liable to a fine.

People can also receive a Community Protection Warning, and if they continue to offend, can result in the person being arrested.

Sergeant Darren Walshaw of Kent Police’s Rural Task Force said: ‘Kent has a stunning shoreline in which protected species of birds and marine mammals thrive. We want everyone to enjoy Kent’s coast whilst ensuring that the natural habitat of these animals is respected.

‘The most important thing people can do is keep their distance, from all marine mammals and seabirds. These species are sensitive to disturbance so if you come into contact with them, move away quietly.

‘Those using boats or jet skis are asked to travel at a no-wake speed of under 5mph when near the cliffs and if you see groups of birds or colony of seals, slow down and go around them.’

The operation is part of Kent Police’s ongoing efforts to protect rural communities and wildlife from crime and anti-social behaviour. Anyone who witnesses any offences or has any information can contact Kent Police on 101 or report online at

By Ed

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