Thames speeder fined over £1K

A boater has been ordered to pay £1,175 after the wash from his boat caused damage to property

A speeding boater has been fined after the wash from his boat caused damage to property and potential danger to life.

Darren Chapman of Gravesend, Kent, pleaded guilty to speeding on the River Thames and causing damage to property in the Thames Court region in July last year. Mr Chapman was spotted by an off-duty special constable travelling downstream in his boat,The Flyer, at speeds of up to 20mph (approx 17 knots).

A local resident of Thames Court Island complained that a two to three foot wash fromThe Flyerhad caused damage to his property. Apparently the force of the wash caused part of a block from a mooring wall to fall into his boat and when his neighbour tried to secure the boats as Chapman speeded past he fell in the water.

Mr Chapman was fined £250 and ordered to pay compensation of £446.50 to the homeowner, as well as costs of £479. He said he had not navigated the Thames before and had not fully understood the need for low speed and care.

Environment Agency team leader Carl Walters said, “The maximum speed for boats on the Thames is five miles per hour (about 4.3 knots) for very good reasons. Excessive speed causes excessive wash which can be extremely dangerous to other river users, especially those in small boats”.

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A user’s guide to the River Thames can be downloaded from