Press release

Boaters warned to register vessels or face court

Boaters on the Great Ouse river face fines for flouting registration rules.

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Boat owners are being urged to make sure their vessels are properly registered – or face paying thousands of pounds in penalties.

The call comes after inspectors found 4 boats moored without their registration plates on the river Great Ouse. The rivers are part of the Anglian Waterways network managed by the Environment Agency.

The discovery resulted in the vessels’ owners being prosecuted and ordered to forfeit almost £2,500 between them.

It is a legal requirement for boaters to register any craft they keep, use, or let for hire on Environment Agency waterways, and to clearly display a valid registration plate.

Howard Kirtley of Barkers Lane in Bedford, James O’Brian of Church Road in Hitchin, Stephen Jaskolski of Ridgehill in Hereford, and William Warnock of School Lane in Buckden, all failed to register their vessels as required by law.

Their cases were heard at Luton Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 4 April, and resulted in fines and costs totalling £2,445. Mr Kirtley was ordered to pay a total penalty of £635, Mr O’Brian £855, Mr Jaskolski £635, and Mr Warnock £465.

Nathan Arnold, Partnerships and Development team leader at the Environment Agency, said:

Our historic and precious waterways are an important part of our nation’s heritage and are enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people every year,” says

A significant part of caring for them, protecting them, and ensuring people continue to enjoy them is funded by boaters paying their way. Those who don’t contribute as they should are threatening the future of our waterways – and we won’t hesitate to take action against them.

As well as not contributing to the upkeep of waterways, unregistered boats can be unsafe, hazardous to other river users, and a pollution risk to the local environment and wildlife.

The Environment Agency looks after 353 miles of navigable waterways in the Anglian network, which includes the Ancholme, Black Sluice, Glen, Welland, Nene, Great Ouse and Stour, as well as associated locks and navigation facilities like moorings, showers and toilets.

More information about boating and waterways, including registering vessels, is available at www.gov.uk/ea. If you suspect a boat is illegal, please contact the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506 or email our waterways team.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • Howard Kirtley of Barkers Lane, Bedford, pleaded guilty by post and was fined £350. He was also ordered to pay costs of £250 and a victim surcharge of £35. The total penalty was £635. His vessel, called Roovin Moon, was found on the Great Ouse at Priory Marina, Bedford.

  • James O’Brian of Church Road, Hitchin, was proved guilty in absence and was fined £550. He was also ordered to pay costs of £250 and a victim surcharge of £55. The total penalty was £855. His vessel, called Happy Days, was found on the Great Ouse at Kelpie Marina, Bedford.

  • Stephen Jaskolski of Ridgehill, Hereford, was pleaded guilty by post and fined £350. He was also ordered to pay costs of £250 and a victim surcharge of £35. The total penalty was £635. His vessel, called Isadora, was found on the Great Ouse at Priory Marina, Bedford.

  • William Warnock of School Lane, Buckden, pleaded guilty and was fined £195. He was also ordered to pay costs of £250 and a victim surcharge of £20. The total penalty was £465. His vessel, called Happy H, was found on the Great Ouse at Priory Marina, Bedford.

Published 11 April 2017