£460 plus £2000 costs for 10-knot skipper

Southampton Magistrates yesterday issued fines totalling £460 (plus £2000 costs and £15 to the victim support fund) to a skipper caught speeding on the River Hamble.

Ian Thomas, 48, of Southampton Solent University pleaded guilty to two charges; failure to navigate with due care and caution (a bye law, fined £130) and failure to comply with the maximum speed limit (a harbour master’s general direction, fined £330) in a case brought by Hampshire County Council as the River Hamble Harbour Authority.

The River Hamble has a speed limit of six knots and a requirement to make minimum wash. The court heard that Mr Thomas was operating his vessel, an 11 metre motor catamaran, at about 10 knots and causing a large wash which endangered a sailor working at the top of the mast on a nearby yacht.

Chairman of the River Hamble Harbour Board, Councillor John Bryant said: “The speed limit is put in place for a reason – to ensure the safety of all river users. Excessive speed can often cause a large wash which can cause damage to other boats and the river banks but it can also be very dangerous, particularly when the river is busy. I believe that even six knots can also be too fast at times; it is always best to look behind you occasionally to check your wash, as well as keeping a good look out for small boats and to see if someone is up a mast or a diver is in the water nearby.

“I hope that this prosecution will show everyone that we do take speeding very seriously. With over 3,200 boats moored in the River Hamble and a further 3,000 kept on the banks, the River Hamble Harbour Authority needs to act in the best interests of everyone to make sure that the river is kept safe.”