Laws governing the use of speedboats and jetskis on one of Scotland’s most popular lochs are to be tightened in a crackdown on anti-social behaviour.  

Tougher new byelaws will be introduced on Loch Lomond following an upsurge in “irresponsible” boating, making it easier for park authorities to prosecute troublemakers. 

Park bosses say the increasing number of people using the open water for recreation such as swimming and paddle sports have heightened the need for additional measures to protect public safety. 

They also say there has been “significant increases” in byelaw breaches in recent years, bringing the issue into sharp focus.  

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Kenny Auld, Head of Visitor Services at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority said: “Thousands of visitors spend time in, on or by the water of Loch Lomond every year and it is a fantastic resource to have within easy reach of 50 per cent of Scotland’s population. 

“These changes to the byelaws are in response to the changes we have seen on the Loch in recent years, specifically the increase in activities such as paddleboarding and a marked upturn in the use of personal water craft such as jet skis. 

 “Alongside these trends, there have been increased concerns about disturbance, antisocial behaviour and safety risks.” 

The Herald:

The loch is popular with swimmers 

Current byelaws were reviewed by Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority last year, and a 12-week public consultation was held on proposed changes. 

Under the new rules, ‘low-speed activity zones’ will be created at seven near-to-shore locations, and a User Registration Scheme will be introduced -  meaning anyone intending to use power-driven vessel on the loch must also register their personal details with the National Park Authority in advance. 

Life jackets or buoyancy aids will become compulsory for anyone aged under-16 on all vessels when on open decks, while new rules will also cover the registered owners of power-driven watercraft under 5hp. 

Under the new bylaws, any owner will be guilty of an offence if someone under 16 using the vessel acts in such a way that they would have committed an offence if they were an adult. 

An amended boundary for the existing 11kph speed zone to the south of Inchtavannach, Inchmoan, and Inchcruin islands will also be established.  

The changes to the Loch Lomond Byelaws have been approved by the Scottish Government and the new byelaws will come into force on 1st November, next year. 

The Herald:

Paddleboarders on the loch 

Mr Auld added: “The new Loch Lomond Byelaws will provide a clear and understandable set of rules for people to follow, as well as an effective deterrent to irresponsible behaviour and a tool for enforcement when necessary. 

“While the new byelaws cannot be legally enforced until 1st November 2024, we will begin transitioning towards them next season.  

“Loch infrastructure will be installed and the systems which will support the implementation of our new Loch User Registration Scheme will be introduced. National Park Rangers will also be communicating regularly with visitors and Loch users about the new byelaws in an advisory capacity.”

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First introduced in 1996, the Loch Lomond Byelaws form part of a wider combination of measures and approaches to managing and influencing behaviour and activities on the water. They also provide the framework to enable escalation and enforcement when necessary. 

The byelaws are required by law to be reviewed at least every 10 years.  The changes coming into force were developed following a thorough and inclusive review process, involving consultation with local stakeholders, the wider public and legal counsel.