Around 40 watercraft users were stopped for speeding in Poole Harbour on Saturday 3 July in an operation to target anti-social and irresponsible behaviour in the water off Dorset.
Officers, including the Force’s Marine Policing Team, Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and special constables from Dorset Police teamed up with colleagues from BCP Council and Poole Harbour Commissioners as part of the Force’s Operation Seagoing, which ran from Christchurch, through Bournemouth and Poole and up to Swanage.
Other agencies involved included Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, the Marine Management Organisation, HM Coastguard, the RNLI and Dorset Council.
In total the team engaged with 150 water users, 80 on the slipway at Poole Harbour and the remaining in the water off the Dorset coast, and most of them were found to be behaving sensibly and responsibly.
Police Sergeant Sophie Williams, of Poole Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We were really pleased to have engaged with so many people during the first day of this operation. We received very positive feedback on the day about people travelling at a safer speed in the harbour from Poole Harbour control.
“Unfortunately, we did find a number of watercraft users flouting the speeding restriction in the harbour and we took the opportunity to provide them with some educational training in a bid to remind them to respect all water users, behave responsibly and be mindful that people are swimming in the sea.
“Inappropriate or dangerous use of any type of watercraft or small boat will not be tolerated in our county. If people are found to be flouting the rules we, or our partner agencies, will take robust action against them and they could end up in court and with a heavy fine.
“We will be carrying out this operation throughout the summer months to ensure everyone can enjoy the water safely.”
Operation Seagoing was launched in response to complaints and concerns from the public about anti-social behaviour involving people using watercrafts, including small speed boats, wet bikes and jet skis and will see targeted patrols carried out until September.
There are 10-knot and six-knot speed limits in Poole Harbour and anyone found breaking this could be fined up to £1,000 by Poole Harbour Commissioners, plus legal costs.
In Poole Bay beach goers and people using personal watercrafts will see yellow buoys along the seafront of BCP beaches. These are placed 200m from the shoreline and set out where people can swim safely. People using personal watercrafts are able to enter that zone, but they must ride the watercraft at six knots or less in Bournemouth and Poole and four in Christchurch, which is a walking pace.
Before deciding to visit Poole Harbour, all personal watercraft users are encouraged to visit the PHC website www.phc.co.uk or contact the harbour office on 01202 440210.
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