Two Jet Ski users and a sailing yacht skipper have been prosecuted for contravention of harbour regulations and were found guilty by Worthing Magistrates Court on Friday 7th February.
The owners of two Jet Skis berthed within Littlehampton Harbour were each fined £200 and must each pay £30 victim surcharge and £500 costs after being found guilty of exceeding the speed limit on the River Arun between Littlehampton and Ford on 15th September 2019. The incident occurred just before sunset in a quieter part of the harbour and was witnessed by members of the public who were concerned about the welfare of other vessels using the river, as well as the more vulnerable paddlecraft and a seal which was in the immediate vicinity at the time. They made a formal report to the Harbour Master and submitted mobile phone footage which was instrumental in the prosecution.
In addition, the skipper of a 21ft sailing yacht berthed within Littlehampton Harbour was fined £300 and must pay £30 victim surcharge and £500 costs after being found guilty of not listening to the port’s designated VHF radio channel and subsequently impeding the passage of a large commercial vessel. The incident occurred on 3rd August 2019 whilst the harbour was temporarily closed to permit the safe entry of a 68 metre long dredger under pilotage. The yacht (like a number of others) initially appeared to be waiting to enter once the harbour had re-opened. However, the skipper then put the yacht and its crew at significant risk by making a very late entry ahead of the dredger at a comparably slower speed. After various attempts at contact by radio and ships whistle, the yacht had made no effort to adjust its course. The dredger’s Captain and the Littlehampton Pilot agreed that the risk of collision presented significant danger to life, and as the dredger could not slow down without losing control, the decision was made to abort the entry. The abort manoeuvre required the 1300 tonne ship with its 1200 tonne cargo to make hard turn to the left to bleed off momentum and avoid striking the harbour breakwater or running aground. The vessel then performed a tight figure of eight turn to line up for a second entry before the tide dropped too far and there would be a of risk grounding. Fortunately for the yacht’s crew, the dredger’s modern propulsion system made it much more manoeuvrable than most other recent commercial callers to Littlehampton who may not have been to safely abort and may even have been unable to prevent collision with the yacht.