We appreciate that people may have concerns about the potential impact on local wildlife and the environment caused by our Jetski Seafaris, and that there is an irony associated with using any petrol engined craft to visit areas of natural beauty.
As part of the process to set up our operations and to define our operating procedures, we have had a number of meetings with Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services (ACLMS), the States Department who are responsible for the local coastline and conservation, as well as with a local wildlife consultant engaged by them.
We worked through all the coastline, rocks and other islets within our proposed operating areas to assess the resident birds and sea mammals and to classify each location's importance, both in terms of the number and types of birds and other animals living and breeding there, as well as taking into account existing levels of marine traffic and disturbance and the frequency with which we expected to visit them. As part of this process we removed several areas from our proposed operations and reduced the frequency we would visit others. Prior to commencing operations this will be supplemented to include certain times of year when sensitive bird sites will be avoided.
We have designed our operating procedures to have a minimal impact on wildlife encountered as part of our Seafaris, including maximum speeds, minimum distances to be maintained, and what to do in the vicinity of marine mammals and rafting birds such as puffins. These have been reviewed and refined as part of our interactions with ACLMS and their Wildlife Consultant and are in line with the Wildlife Code. There are a number of coastal restricted areas around Guernsey's Coastline with 6 knot speed limits designed to minimise disturbance both to wildlife and other users and we will also be required to obey these.
Our Yamaha Waverunners are the latest available and comply with all relevant environmental and noise regulations. As 4 Stroke machines with Yamaha's Sound Suppression System - they are considerably quieter than older 2 Stroke models and actually most outboards. There are also no external moving parts or propellers and the impeller is protected by an intake grate if dolphins or other marine mammals were to choose to come up close.
On each Seafari we will continually assess the reaction of any wildlife encountered and act accordingly.
On top of this, over the course of our operations, both we and ACLMS are assessing the impact of our operations more generally on local wildlife and meeting to discuss our findings. So far we have found that the animals we see on a regular basis have become familiar with us and in many cases have become more comfortable with our presence over the years we have been visiting their territory. The seals at Grande Amphroque and Les Autels have become far more relaxed in our company and even swim over to the skis, although this could be in part due to the number of seals which have been stranded and hand reared in recent years. We have also had very regular and amazing interactions with dolphins, in particular with the various pods of bottlenose which have been regular visitors to our waters the last few years. Having taken lots of photos and due to the fascinating and amazing work of the Dolfin project we have been able to identify some of the individuals repeatedly coming and playing with the skis. I am very confident that these individuals are able to recognise the skis and on numerous occasions have seen them flock over to say hello sharing the same excitement to see us as we have to see them.
2021 has so far seen regular sightings of common dolphins in Guernsey waters and a Minke whale off Jersey. Risso's dolphin were also seen a few times towards the end of 2020 so it is looking like it could be an exciting year for cetaceans as well as the fact that we have had bluefin tuna in local waters the last two years running. These huge fish can launch themselves out the water like dolphins and are incredibly fast. Fingers crossed they'll be back this year.
Clearly, part of the experience of going on a Seafari is to experience what it's like to be behind the controls of one of our Yamaha Waverunner jetskis - they're a lot of fun! - and there's more to them than moving slowly down the coast, off the plane. Our Seafaris will include time (after some training and under the supervision of our qualified instructors) travelling faster and experiencing the thrill of controlling one of these amazing machines - however this will be further offshore and away from areas where we know wildlife could be disturbed.
Ultimately, we love our Bailiwick and its amazing coastline and marine environment - we want to conserve and showcase it, we definitely do not want to detrimentally impact it in any way.
If you want to talk about this further, please contact us directly via our Facebook page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.