SIX KNOT SPEED LIMIT : Hamble River
SIX KNOT SPEED LIMIT INTRODUCED FOR RIVER HAMBLE
The River Hamble Harbour Authority has today (10 July) imposed a six knot speed limit for river users to help combat the increasing number of vessels which have been travelling at very high speeds.
Vessels travelling at high speeds in crowded and narrow channels cause danger and nuisance to other river users, and the excessive wash produced by such speeds could result in injury or damage to other vessels and the banks of the river.
Over 3,000 leisure craft are moored on the river and a recent traffic survey noted that during peek times up to 200 craft enter or depart the river every hour into Southampton Water and the Solent.
The decision to reduce the speed limit was made after Portsmouth magistrates decided not to convict the skipper of a boat that was stopped by the Marine Police in March last year after it was seen proceeding down the River Hamble in the dark at high speed without the correct lights.
Although the skipper admitted doing 16 knots, the magistrates felt that speed on its own was insufficient to convict him of an offence under the present Byelaws or the Collision Regulations, given the specific circumstances of the case.
The skipper was convicted for not showing the correct navigation lights and was fined £100 and ordered to pay £100 costs.
The County Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Councillor Keith Estlin, said: “The River Hamble Harbour Authority is committed to ensuring the River Hamble is a safe place for everybody to enjoy. We are aware that some of the existing legislation may not be precise enough, and to rectify this situation a statutory speed limit of six knots will be imposed on the river and vessel movements will be monitored by CCTV.
“Many people who use the river do so in small craft, with their families and young children aboard. Vessels travelling at high speeds are a threat to their safety. The Harbour Authority will pursue any skipper found exceeding the new limit that has now been set.”
The speed limit will be imposed by the Harbour Master who is able to issue a Harbour Master’s Direction by the provisions of Section 52 Harbour, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847, Section 12 Southampton Harbour Act 1939, Article 37 and Schedule 2 The River Hamble Harbour Revision Order 1969.