Poole Harbour Commissioners and the Marine Policing Team are appealing for witnesses following a number of complaints about a speed boat being driven at excessive speed on the River Frome in Wareham and Poole Harbour.
The vehicle was witnessed at the Quayside in Wareham, beside the Old Granary Public House at about 6.40pm on Saturday 29 August 2020. It is reported to have left the Quayside, travelling towards Poole Harbour at excessive speed and creating an excessive wash, causing danger to other water users. The speed limit in the River Frome downstream of Wareham is strictly limited to 4 knots.
At some point after, it is believed to have been at Ridge Wharf, where it took the left-hand bend at speed. It was later seen crossing Poole Harbour and into the Swash Channel.
The boat is described as blue and white, with the name ‘Sonic’ emblazoned on it. It has now been seized while officers make enquiries into the incident.
Due to the danger posed by the drivers in the alleged incident, Dorset Marine Policing Team are collaborating with Poole Harbour Commissioners, who have primary jurisdiction in the harbour.
Poole Harbour Master, Captain Brian Murphy, said: “Since the easement of COVID-19 restrictions we have seen an increase in reported bylaw infringements within Poole Harbour which has led to increased patrols (including working jointly with the Marine Policing Team and other authorities) resulting in a number of court summons being issued with prosecutions pending. Fortunately these are very much relating to a minority of harbour users.
“We have local and national legislation in place, relating to excessive speed and dangerous navigation, which will be enforced for the protection of harbour users in accordance with our Enforcement Policy.
“We would appeal to anyone who has witnessed inappropriate behaviour of persons on board the motor vessel ‘Sonic’ or dangerous navigation of the same vessel to come forward to assist with this joint investigation. Poole Harbour Commissioners have and will continue to work closely with harbour users to maintain navigational safety within Poole Harbour for the safety and enjoyment of all.”
Concerns over the recent rise in dangerous behaviour on the water are shared by Roan Doyle, the Marine Policing Team Co-Ordinator of Dorset Police. He added: “In recent weeks, across the UK, we have seen a number of very serious marine collisions and lives lost on our waters and our thoughts go out to all those involved and their families. Our initial enquiries into this incident suggest that the vessel is alleged to have been travelling in excess of ten times the speed limit in place on the River Frome, which is frequented by paddleboarders, kayakers and swimmers, in addition to recreational and commercial mariners.
“Speed limits on our waterways are in place to protect life, property and the environment, and the manner in which the vessel is reported to have been used posed a very real risk of serious injury to water users.
“I would like to appeal to any members of the public who may have CCTV footage along the river, or have taken mobile phone footage of the vessel, who we have not already contacted, to get in get in touch
“The Marine Policing Team will continue to work with our partner agencies to promote marine safety, prevent and detect marine crime, and keep Dorset’s waters safe.”
If you have any information about the incident, please contact Dorset Police via their website, by email or by calling 101 and quoting occurrence number 55200130031. To report information anonymously, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit their website.