Charter skipper fined for overloading boat

Grahame Stronge packed more than 20 people on his Princess that was only coded for 12

The owner of a Princess 55 charter boat has been fined £800 after being found guilty of carrying more people on board than was legally allowed.

Grahame Stronge
was caught carrying more than 20 people on his boat, Sarah May III, between Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland and Peel on the Isle of Man in June 2008.

His Princess is only coded to carry 12 people.

Mr Stronge, who runs Strangford Yacht Charter, pleaded guilty at Downpatrick Magistrate’s Court on Monday to failing to comply with the Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Commercial Vessels and to breaching certification regulations.

Magistrate Brian Archer said: “The defendant knew he was overloaded and he was lucky there wasn’t a tragedy; hopefully this won’t happen again.”
Captain Bill Bennett, area operations manager for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said: “This was a serious breach [of regulations] and should serve as a reminder to all operators of the dangers of carrying more passengers than the vessel is certificated and equipped to carry.

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“All breaches of the Maritime Regulations are taken seriously by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.”

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