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 Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws

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David Harvey

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PostSubject: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Tue May 29, 2012 9:23 pm

Three boaters prosecuted for not having boat licences.

Four River Thames boaters without valid registrations have been convicted by magistrates after prosecutions brought by the Environment Agency.

The separate cases were heard at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 16 May, Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Friday 4 May, and Staines Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 25 April. All the registration offences were contrary to non-registration charges under Articles 4 and 18 of the Environment Agency’s (Inland Waterways) Order 2010.
Slawek Szkupinski of 8 Magna Court, Costons Lane, Greenford, Middlesex, pleaded guilty by post that his unlicensed vessel ‘Captain Morgan 11’ was kept in the Harleyford Marina with a failed engine. Mr Szkupinski was fined £400 and ordered to pay compensation of £438.48 which was the registration fee for 2011, contribution to prosecution costs of £60 and victim surcharge of £15, a total £913.48.

James Watkins of Villiers House, School Lane, Middleton Stoney, was charged after an Environment Agency officer found his boat ‘Quackers1V’ moored against the Trout Inn Carpark without a valid registration. Mr Watkins was prosecuted in his absence and was fined £400, ordered to pay compensation of £172.26, £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge by Oxford Magistrates’ Court.

In the second case on that day, Derek Wilby of Harcourt Arms, Main Road, Stanton Harcourt pleaded guilty by post and was fined £250, ordered to pay compensation of £187.92, £60 costs and a £15 victim surcharge for not registering his boat ‘Deli’ after being caught at on the River Thames near Bablock Hythe, Northmoor, Witney.

At Staines Magistrates’ Court, Brian Crook living onboard the Abbot, Tims Boat Yard, Timsway, Staines was found without a valid registration for his boat ‘the Abbot’ whilst the boat was moored at Tims Boat Yrd, Staines Reach. The defendant was found guilty in his absence and fined £200, ordered to pay compensation of £328.86, £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Matt Carter Waterways Operations Manager, said:
“Owners have a responsibility to ensure their boats are registered even if it is moored in a marina or boatyard or doesn’t move and we regularly challenge people using boats on the river without registration plates displayed. In response to customer feedback, we continue to do routine patrols and marina and lockside checks. In addition we carry out targeted enforcement exercises and these prosecutions are a direct result of such action.

“The income we raise from boat registration is very important for the community and the environment. It contributes directly to maintaining waterway structures such as locks and lay-bys, as well as providing facilities like visitor moorings, water points, rubbish and sewage disposal and electric boat charging hook-ups.”
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James Mitchell

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PostSubject: Re: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:26 pm

I wouldn't mind so much if boaters weren't now forced to pay absurd insurance premiums in order to register the boats with the EA.

Or if the EA only focused on prosecuting individuals who had actually drawn attention to themselves through anti-social or dangerous behaviour. However, I suspect - as with almost all enforcement designed to protect revenue - that they will go for the low hanging fruit. That means they will pick on the otherwise law-abiding, responsible people who will not make a fuss, pay up in court and allow the EA to put out their press release to serve as a warning to others. The speedboats full of drunken idiots aren't worth the effort.

There are now too many traps in place for well meaning, responsible people to fall into. No doubt if you went out in one the weirs this weekend with your boat registration and insurance in order, and your rod license and weir licence, and an EA patrol came along they'd prosecute you for not having flares on board, or and put out a gloating press release Rolling Eyes

All in favour of making sure the river isn't misused or mistreated, but this kind of thing really winds me up!

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John Barnes

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PostSubject: Re: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:19 pm

i think there should be more checks done on boats as some boaters
are idiots.
i am not to sure of the boat rules about insurance etc but i do know about they should
not be in that close plus going up on the left side.
even boats were passing each over on near side arch at hampton court
going to be a accident one day.
i have just returned from 2 days on the thames and myself and 3 other anglers
got wiped out 3 times from idiots that dont know what right side means.
been onto the ea yesterday and said take photo's if you can
as this happened a few more times before hand and did not think of
taking photo's.
i have just emailed them with photos of boats
with names and etc as it is starting to get a joke and they know they can get away with it.
well its time to do something and i am not going to stop untill something gets done.
there just lazy as easy for them to stay on the left side as straight run for them into lock gates.
we are talking 15ft-20ft as my 3mtr landing net handle plus net could touch the side of 2
of the boat's
i have told them i am willing to help them for free in any way possible as 7 lots of gear lost
4oz leads traces etc i am not happy with some of them and not even a sorry.
and then you have the other 99% exc stay in the middle they c u in advance and slow down even more.
got much time for these guys.
i have to say some fishermen in there boats come flying up there as well.
anyway lets see what the ea say.
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Steve Holmes



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PostSubject: Re: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:37 pm

All powered Thames craft need to have the name written on both sides and the back of the boat. If you take photos, make sure the name is in the picture Wink
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William Pettigrew

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PostSubject: Re: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:44 pm

so all boats must be named? im sure ive seen boats with no name.
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Jeff Kennett



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PostSubject: Re: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:35 am

William Pettigrew wrote:
so all boats must be named? im sure ive seen boats with no name.

Yep, they all need to be named and, like Steve has said, the name has to be displayed on the stern and the bow (port and starboard). The only exceptions to this are unpowered craft and non-Thames based vessels. In the case of the latter, they must purchase and display 'visitor plates' which, in effect, becomes a vessel's name whilst it is on the Thames.
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MilesRice

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PostSubject: Re: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:55 am

William Pettigrew wrote:
so all boats must be named? im sure ive seen boats with no name.

your right I too see alot of boats with no name on them, but seems to be only the small boats with outboard engines the EA doesnt seem to stop these, makes me angry when I have to pay over £700 a year for mine
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Steve Appleford



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PostSubject: Re: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:06 am

MilesRice wrote:
William Pettigrew wrote:
so all boats must be named? im sure ive seen boats with no name.

your right I too see alot of boats with no name on them, but seems to be only the small boats with outboard engines the EA doesnt seem to stop these, makes me angry when I have to pay over £700 a year for mine

Take your point Miles lots of infaltables /small trailored boats launched for a days jollys no licence ,just been to top end of river and back to Reading for a couple weeks [well will have tomorrow] and we saw nilll point patrol boats out in all that time....Realise they are men hours short and believe they cant send out said inspectors launches unless double crewed but with little detterent or chance of getting caught it wont get better .
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James Mitchell

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PostSubject: Re: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:14 pm

Surely the point is that small boats being launched on a "day's jolly" do not have anything like the footprint of larger (and inhabited) vessels. They don't really use moorings, no bilge tanks, no rubbish issues, most can't cause much damage to anything or anyone, don't take up much room in locks, can't be lived in like the "illegal moorers." Essentially, they don't use the facilities that the EA needs to maintain (other than, perhaps, slipways) anything like the bigger boats do.

That said, if people in small boats are p***ing around and causing problems for other people, by all means throw the book at them. But the way I see it the current requirements - especially £1m third party insurance - on small boat owners are disproportionate to the facilities they use and the footprint they have on the river. So not too bothered if the EA don't enforce the rules to the letter (even though I make sure I follow them!).
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John PW Keating



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PostSubject: Small unlicensed boats   Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:45 pm

The law is the law and should be enforced. Unfortuneately I have seen all to many of this type of craft used to poach club/privately owned stretches of river.
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James Mitchell

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PostSubject: Re: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:11 pm

Well poaching is illegal and should be prosecuted as the crime that it is. Having third party insurance to £1m or a 2 inch minimum boat name stencilled on the side doesn't stop someone poaching.

Someone who is already breaking the law for poaching probably won't be too concerned about being unlicenced.

Again it is simply the casual, otherwise law abiding people (in this case boat users) who are the easy targets for enforcement officers and get stung. This sort of nonsense - putting disproportionate conditions on dinghy owners, etc - is just a massive distraction from enforcing the law against the real villains - poachers, polluters, dangerous boaters, etc.

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John Barnes

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PostSubject: Re: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:14 pm

when i was up the river last night there was 5 boats come past during the night 2 had lights on
and the other ones with no lights.
two of the one's without the lights where flying up
and all over the place messing around, these are the ones that need catching and the boat
taken away from them and a fine.
i just shine my maglite torch straight at them and they do not like it.
problem is how can you patrol it due to no resources.
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James Mitchell

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PostSubject: Re: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:41 pm

Agreed John. Difficult one though because many of these cretins will be troublemakers and you never know when a nasty piece of work will turn up. The EA should be acting against boaters who make a nuisance of themselves and particularly those who endanger others.

All boaters should be sticking to the law at all times, I'm not advocating anything else. I just think the laws/regulations aren't right at the moment and need to be amended to come down hard on the villains, but not allow abuse of process against people who aren't actually causing any harm. You'd hope that enforcement officers would simply use their discretion but in other areas (e.g. road traffic regulation) everyone knows that often isn't the case.

Down on the Kingston - Teddington stretch there is an EA patrol boat that constantly goes up and down. The lockies always politely check the licence on each boat going through the lock, which I think is proportionate enforcement. I wonder if that EA boat ever actively checks up on suspicious boats though, or whether its just there as a visible deterrent and only intervenes when there is a serious incident? It would be good if we could get their direct number or something in case people spot illegal activity.
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John PW Keating



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PostSubject: Re: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:52 am

James Mitchell wrote:
Well poaching is illegal and should be prosecuted as the crime that it is. Having third party insurance to £1m or a 2 inch minimum boat name stencilled on the side doesn't stop someone poaching.

Someone who is already breaking the law for poaching probably won't be too concerned about being unlicenced.

Again it is simply the casual, otherwise law abiding people (in this case boat users) who are the easy targets for enforcement officers and get stung. This sort of nonsense - putting disproportionate conditions on dinghy owners, etc - is just a massive distraction from enforcing the law against the real villains - poachers, polluters, dangerous boaters, etc.

I believe that having identification prominently displayed on ALL boats is an effective deterrent to poaching or any other law breaking as easy identification will make prosecution easier.
It is an offence to have an unlicenced/uninsured vehicle without a number plate on the road. Why should the law be different for boats on the river?
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James Mitchell

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PostSubject: Re: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:03 pm

Completely agree John. That's why we need to be encouraging small boat owners to register/ licence their craft, not discourage them with silly requirements

That said, proper poachers won't care either way, and the only real way of stopping them is catching them in the act.
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Steve Appleford



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PostSubject: Re: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:54 am

James Mitchell wrote:
Completely agree John. That's why we need to be encouraging small boat owners to register/ licence their craft, not discourage them with silly requirements

That said, proper poachers won't care either way, and the only real way of stopping them is catching them in the act.
James the amount of cover 3 mill or so is the problem ...for eg my Portabote is £42 pa to insure for registration on a value of cica £2200 incl engine...our narrow boat circa £40000 for same cover is £160....2 or 3 mill 3rd party cover is crazy requirment on a small craft as the damage they can do is minimal in comparison.
Not to say they should not have a form of cover but 3rd party at those amounts is a bit barking imo.
Poachers will do what they do regardless of laws,we did see a couple of EA fisheries baliffs at Abingdon on our recent trip who had been moving on groups of EAs around that part of the Thames so big up for that...The liveaboards at Abingdon are still on the same spots they were last year...with house prices at silly money and a lack of rentall propertys the problem of liveaboards will only get worse i fear Steve
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John Barnes

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PostSubject: Re: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:41 pm

just had a email back from the ea about my email i sent them reg the boats.

Good Afternoon John,

Thank you for contacting the Environment Agency.

This has been forwarded to our Incident Communications Service who will arrange for the incident to be investigated.

To report any further potential pollution or flooding incident (i.e. fish in distress, dumping of hazardous waste) please call our 24 hour freephone Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60. This hotline is manned 24 hours a day and can deal with your report straight away. You can remain anonymous if you so wish.

Please see the link below to find further information on the types of incident that we deal with:

http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/contactus/36345.aspx

Best Regards,

Alexander Haigh
Duty of Care Team & Hazardous Waste Team
National Customer Contact Centre
Part of National Operations
The Environment Agency
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John Barnes

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PostSubject: Re: Boaters ordered to pay £3,239 for flouting boat registration laws   Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:16 pm

just had this back and not happy.

John



I have just checked with our Navigation Officer re your complaint and he confirms that as far as he is aware there are no restrictions as to how close boats come to the bank… There are speed restrictions which are regulated by the Police, who may be able to help you further with your complaint



Thanks



Dave

what a load of rubbish
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