Jet-skier fined for riding at speed in busy port

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A jet-skier has been prosecuted and fined almost £2,500 (GBP) for riding his jet ski at nine-times the speed limit within the port area at Southampton, UK on an exceptionally busy day.

The incident happened when Cunard’s flagship liners, the QEII, QM2 and Queen Victoria, were in port.

As statutory harbour authority, Associated British Ports (ABP), which also owns and operates the port, is the prosecuting authority for Southampton Water and the port’s Harbour Master, Captain Philip Holliday, took the decision to prosecute under byelaws that enforce a 6-knot speed limit.

The British magistrates’ court heard that on 22 April local man Adam Robert Langdown rode his jet ski at high speed through the Eastern and Western Docks.

Mr Langdown was cautioned by marine police before being allowed to proceed, but then broke the speed limit again by travelling even faster. A police launch, RIB Mariner V, gave chase and Mr Langdown was apprehended.

After appearing in front of Southampton Magistrates on 17 September, Mr Langdown was fined a total of £2,429.

Captain Holliday said: “Although we are keen that Southampton’s leisure-marine community should co-exist with the port’s commercial shipping traffic, our paramount concern is for the safety of all.

“In this instance, Mr Langdown was not only travelling at excess speed – on a day when the water was very busy and extra care would have been preferable in any case – but he had the audacity to ignore his initial warning from the police and to then actually increase his speed. I believe the penalty given to him is therefore appropriate. Any mariner who does not comply with the law is posing an unacceptable risk to all users of the port – both commercial and leisure – and I sincerely hope that this penalty will serve as a warning to others.”

Sergeant Andy Simpson, Hampshire Police Marine Support Unit, who intercepted Mr Langdown, said: “Speeding on the water is as unacceptable as it is on land, and, in this particular case, was potentially extremely dangerous.
When we stopped Langdown his jet ski was clocked at 46 knots. This is the equivalent of a motorist doing 230mph in a 30mph limit. Speed limits exist to keep people safe, and the six-knot speed limit in Southampton Water is all too often ignored.

“This conviction should stand as a warning to boat users that we have the capability to intercept marine craft in all circumstances.”