Love them or loathe them, jetski’s (or PWC’s – personal watercraft – for those in the know) are an ever-present sight on the waters surrounding Hayling Island. Enthusiasts travel from far and wide to launch into the waters of Langstone Harbour.
For those who haven’t seen jetskis, then think Motorcross on water. Speed and manoeuvrability are what keep riders coming back for more and the conditions that Hayling regularly gets are what entices riders to travel to the island.
Located at the western tip of the island and next to the Hayling Ferry, a local Jetski Club meets regularly and allows participants to indulge in their sport of choice in a supervised, friendly and fun fashion.
Many riders choose to spend the entire time burning around the mouth of the harbour, as this is one of the quietest stretches of water when it comes to swimmers and bathers. There is a degree of boat traffic but these vessels are easily avoided as they can usually be seen from quite a distance.
Advanced riders can sneak round to the sea front and on quiet days have been known to head for the end of the sand bar off west Beachlands to play in the waves.
The top echelons of the sport see riders perform tricks off waves plus flat water freestyle moves; much like you see with Freestyle Motorcross on land. Others prefer to race around slalom courses, while many are happy to just use their ski to pootle along and do some exploring.
Some jetski owners also use their toys to gain access to farther flung places such as the Isle of Wight. Buzzing across the Solent on a ski is a fun way to explore. It is important, though, to be mindful that the Solent is a major shipping lane with all associated hazards; advanced skills and excellent local knowledge are required.
If you are planning on travelling a distance, then it is also worth putting your machine through a service beforehand. Being stranded in the path of an oncoming oil tanker may not be such a pleasant experience!
Whatever activity you choose to undertake on your jetski, you will be well catered for if launching from Hayling. With all the inlets and secluded spots dotted along the shores of the island, it’s easy to find your own place to enjoy your hobby.
The only thing to take into consideration is potential noise pollution from the engine of a PWC during busy periods, and be respectful of the local wildlife. The Langstone Harbour Master patrols these waters regularly and will enforce stiff penalties if necessary.
- Launch from the Hayling Ferry slipway in Langstone Harbour mouth or Northney Marina in Chichester Harbour – a charge may be incurred here
- Understand tides and know their times
- Do not launch in heavy weather
- Observe the maritime rules of the road when on the water and give way to other boat traffic and water users
- Be respectful at all times