Man Who Jet-Skied 4.5 Hours Across Irish Sea to Visit Girlfriend Jailed for Violating Covid Rules
Scotsman Dale McLaughlan found himself in hot water after illegally crossing a cold sea.
The construction worker is currently in jail on the Isle of Man and risked his life by jet skiing across the wild Irish Sea to meet his girlfriend on a romantic date.
The journey, which McLaughlan had originally assumed would only be 40 minutes, took about 4.5 hours from the coasts of Scotland and set off a major search and rescue alert along the west coast of the UK.
More importantly, McLaughlan has been given a four week jail sentence for violating the Isle of Man's strict COVID-19 restrictions on visitors to the island nation between Ireland and the UK.
"The Isle of Man is in a very different situation than the UK and many other counties when it comes to coronavirus," Isle of Man Prime Minister Howard Quayle said in a statement.
“Our community has worked together to contain and eradicate the virus to protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19, so I was amazed to learn that someone was jet skiing from the UK to the Isle of Man over the weekend traveled and violated our virus has border restrictions. "
“In the Isle of Man, we're all for ingenuity,” continues Quayle. "Unfortunately, this was an incredibly reckless, dangerous endeavor that, given the time of year, could have ended very differently."
McLaughlan's journey across the narrow waters began on December 11 when the 28-year-old drove 70 miles from his home in North Ayrshire and set sail from the Isle of Whithorn on the west coast of Scotland at around 8 a.m.
Getty Douglas, Isle of Man
According to a report from the Isle of Man Police, he had only bought the Jet Kki the day before and "had no experience driving jet skis." The Scottish Sun also reports that McLaughlan cannot swim either.
Nevertheless, he managed to land in the town of Ramsey on the northeast coast of the Isle of Man at around 1 p.m. - with only 10 minutes of fuel in his tank.
Then he set out on foot, walked 12 miles to the island's capital, Douglas, and knocked on the door of his friend Jessica Radcliffe's house. The couple had met in September when he was legally working as a roofer on the island.
The police report said Radcliffe had absolutely no knowledge of McLaughlan risking his life to meet her, and the couple went on a date at the 1886 Bar & Grill and the Bordello Wine Bar in Douglas until around 1:30 p.m. on Jan. . December.
At that point, however, the local law enforcement authorities caught up with him. Before leaving mainland Britain, McLaughlan had completed a route planner for the Coast Guard. When he did not return as planned, UK authorities alerted Search and Rescue and reported a missing person to the local police force.
This included the Isle of Man Constabulary, who were made aware of the presence of their newcomer. McLaughlan was arrested on the evening of December 13th, about 16 hours after he left the wine bar.
Getty Isle of Man flag
After confessing his plan to enter the country illegally, he was charged with violating the island's COVID regulations and sentenced to four weeks in prison.
"There are restrictions on the island's borders to prevent the virus from spreading," Quayle added in the press release. "This person arrived on the island without an exemption or entry permit and failed to explain their arrival or to isolate themselves."
"This person was well aware of the law and showed an obvious disregard when they decided to break it, meddle in the community and potentially put lives in danger."
He continues, "I hope this sends a strong signal to others who don't take our laws seriously or who mistakenly believe the rules don't apply to them."
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