Press release

Illegal boaters sunk with fines

Five boaters using the Environment Agency's waterways have been fined for not registering their vessels.


Five boaters who did not register their vessels have been landed with penalties totalling more than £5,000.

River inspectors found the boats moored on the Great Ouse, Little Ouse, Old West and Nene – all part of the Anglian Waterways network managed by the Environment Agency.

It is a legal requirement for boaters to register any vessel they keep, use or let for hire on Environment Agency waterways, and to clearly display a valid registration plate. Vessel owners must also have the appropriate Boat Safety Scheme certificates and insurance, as part of the registration process.

Glen Wheatley of Farcet in Peterborough, Geoffrey Turner of Holbeach in Lincolnshire, Stuart Baker of Hockwold in Norfolk, Phillip Sunman of Eynesbury in Cambridgeshire, and Anthony Hague of Soham in Cambridgeshire all failed to register their vessels, as required by law.

Their cases were heard at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 8 March, and resulted in fines and costs totalling £5,166.10. Mr Wheatley was ordered to pay a total of £827.99, Mr Turner £856.98, Mr Baker £898.71, Mr Sunman £1,208.71, and Mr Hague £1,371.71.

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

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 If you suspect a boat is illegal, please contact the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506 or by emailing our Waterways team.


Notes to editors:

  • Glen Wheatley of Peterborough Road, Farcet, Peterborough, pleaded guilty by post and was given a fine of £103, and ordered to pay costs of £250, compensation of £444.99 and a victim surcharge of £30. The total penalty was £827.99. His vessel is Lady Angela.
  • Geoffrey Turner of Fleet Road, Holbeach, Lincolnshire, was found guilty in absence. He was fined £220, and ordered to pay costs of £250, £343.98 compensation, and a victim surcharge of £43. The total penalty was £856.98. His vessel is Bianco.
  • Stuart Baker of Pearces Close, Hockwold, Norfolk, pleaded guilty in court and was given a 12-month conditional discharge. He was also ordered to pay compensation of £878.71 and a £20 victim surcharge (£898.71 total). His vessel is unnamed.
  • Philip Sunman of Washbank Road, Eynesbury, Cambridgeshire, pleaded guilty and was fined £200. He was also ordered to pay costs of £100, compensation of £878.71 and a £30 victim surcharge. The total penalty was £1,208.71. His vessel is unnamed.
  • Anthony Hague of Bushell Lane, Soham, Cambridgeshire, was found guilty in absence and given a fine of £220. He was also ordered to pay £250 in costs, £873.71 compensation and a victim surcharge of £30. The total penalty was £1,373.71. His vessel is Quest II.
  • Powered-vessel owners will require valid insurance to register their vessels and most will also require a Boat Safety Scheme Certificate.
  • Registration must be renewed each year for the waterway on which a person is keeping or using their boat. People can also buy a visitor registration for shorter periods.
Published 28 March 2017