The Royal Navy has welcomed a Portsmouth Magistrates decision that fined two jet skiers who obstructed operations in Portsmouth harbour by reckless riding.
An MOD police launch was forced to intercept 35-year-old Stuart Roberts from Southampton and 37-year-old James Gallagher from Gosport to put an end to their jaunt in November last year.
The duo were ordered to pay £365 each in fines and costs by Portsmouth Magistrates for breaching the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth Order (2005).
The jet skiers set off from Lee-on-Solent intent on a ride around Portsmouth Harbour.
Once they entered, they rode down the middle of the main shipping channel, which is reserved for large vessels, obstructed the departure of a Wightlink ferry to Ryde and generally rode around at high speed, above the 10-knot limit, moving erratically… until the MOD police stopped them.
Jet skis are assigned stretches of water at Lee-on-Solent and Eastney, where they can operate at higher speeds as well as being close to the shore – as long as they have a licence from the Queen’s Harbour Master and ride their craft with due care and caution.
Roberts told the court he had a licence to operate his jet ski in the harbour, but Gallagher, who only purchased his ‘bike’ the day before the incident, did not.
“Portsmouth is one of the busiest harbour ports in the UK and Portsmouth Naval Base is home to Type 45 destroyers, much of the Type 23 frigate flotilla and, later this year, the first of the new Aircraft Carriers,” said Deputy Queen’s Harbour Master Gideon Sherwood.
“It is our priority to ensure the safety and security of all port users and I welcome this clear message to those who choose to ignore or flaunt the rules
“For the vast majority who are eager to get it right and people new to the area who wish to get on the water, there is plenty of information on our website and we are happy to advise anyone who can’t find what they need.”