Man dangerously speeding on Wareham’s River Frome, dealt with under new law

A 30 year old man from Hertfordshire, who was reported to be travelling in a motor boat at excessive speed and causing danger to other water users in the Wareham and Poole Harbour area, has been served with a community resolution order.

The man, who hasn’t been named, was reported for the dangerous use of the motor vessel, Sonic on Saturday 29th August 2020.

An investigation was launched by the Dorset Marine Policing team and Poole Harbour Commissioners.

The man admitted an offence under the new Merchant Shipping (Safety of Navigation) Regulations 2020.

River Frome
Library image

Make good the harm caused by their actions

He received a community resolution notice, which aims to give first-time offenders the chance to make good the harm caused by their actions.

As part of his conditions, the man will have to undertake a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) approved boat handling course before being allowed to use a boat again in Dorset’s waters.

He is also required to pay any unpaid harbour dues owed to Poole Harbour Commissioners and write a letter of apology to the Environment Agency, which owns and manages the River Frome and protects its diverse wildlife.

This outcome is the first of its kind under the new legislation, which makes failing to navigate safely, an offence.

“Substandard navigation skills, excessive speeds and a disregard for other water users”

Marine Policing Team coordinator, Roan Doyle of Dorset Police, said:

“In this case, we saw substandard navigation skills, excessive speeds and a disregard for other water users. Together these create a recipe for disaster.

“Nobody was injured, but the risk was very real. What we’ve seen repeatedly is use of boats and other watercraft by individuals who have no training or experience in handling them, nor any awareness of the byelaws and restrictions in place.

“Ignorance is no excuse and anybody intending to head out on the water must familiarise themselves with their obligations.

“However, where marine offending is low level, a first marine offence and the individual concerned shows remorse for their actions, Dorset Police will use the community resolution process to effectively require them to undergo training at their own cost to address the underlying issue.”

“The rules are in place to protect lives”

Captain Brian Murphy, of Poole Harbour Commissioners, said:

“I hope the new legislation and the resolution of this case will serve as a warning to others.

“The rules are in place to protect lives and to ensure everyone can enjoy their time on the water safely. If you break the rules there will be consequences.”

“The speed limit on the River Frome is four knots”

Environment Agency fisheries specialist, Stuart Kingston-Turner said:

“The speed limit on the River Frome is four knots. This speed limit exists to help ensure the safety of all those that use our river, as well as for the protection of the flood banks, property and the wider environment.

“We have a large number of people enjoying the river from experienced mariners to people hiring a dinghy or canoe who may be on the water for the first time. Exceeding the speed limit increases the risk of damage and public safety.”

Dorset Police says that marine offending can be reported online and via 101. In an emergency, always call 999. Offending in the harbour can be reported to Poole Harbour Commissioners on 01202 440 230.

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