A boat owner from Devon has been ordered to pay more than £3,OOO in fines and costs after being caught speeding in his RIB in Falmouth Harbour last summer.

David Morgan, 51, of Lawn Drive, Chudleigh, Newton Abbot was caught on the harbour’s CCTV system going at almost three times the speed limit on July 28 last year.

Morgan was sentenced at Truro Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday, February 21 after pleading guilty to navigating a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) over the speed limit, unnecessarily navigating through moorings and failing to navigate with care and caution during the incident in July 2023.

He was fined £961 and ordered to pay costs of £2,100 to the Harbour Master.

The court heard that Morgan’s RIB was caught on Falmouth Harbour’s high definition CCTV system operating at almost three times the six knot inner harbour limit during a busy summer’s day.

The images were so clear they showed the “driver” was using his mobile phone, was not using a kill-cord (designed to cut the engine in an emergency) and no one on the boat was wearing a life-jacket.

Responding to the sentence, Falmouth Harbour Master Miles Featherstone said the safety and wellbeing of all Falmouth Harbour water users was at the heart of its operations.

“As a Trust Port we have legal responsibilities to people, property, wildlife and the environment,” he said.

“There are speed restrictions within Harbour limits for very good reason and while it gives us no pleasure to take anyone to court, we are sending out a message that in extreme cases like this we, as a Harbour Authority, can and will prosecute offenders. We want all harbour users to enjoy themselves, but to do so safely.”

Falmouth Harbour says its new high-definition CCTV system is specifically designed to monitor water-borne speed and behaviour with a mind to keeping people, wildlife and property safer. This incident last summer is the first time it has been used by the Falmouth Harbour Authority in a prosecution.

Falmouth Packet: Speed restriction sign of six knots is clearly displayed on eastern armSpeed restriction sign of six knots is clearly displayed on eastern arm (Image: Falmouth Harbour)

“We record movements in the Harbour 24/7, because unfortunately some people – either wilfully or through ignorance of the regulations - routinely break our Harbour byelaws,” said Mr Featherstone.

“Ignorance of the regulations that are there to keep people safe is no defence, since it’s a skipper’s duty to check local rules before they set out (all of which are available on our website).


Run to raise essential cash to install CCTV and lighting at  former leisure centre

“Speed is proven to be a major factor in many marine accidents through collision or excessive wake. There have been a number of recent boating fatalities, proven to have been caused by excessive speed.

"So clearly your speed needs to be kept low when you’re manoeuvring in a harbour where there are hundreds of boats on moorings, large commercial and leisure vessels on the move, wildlife, and people swimming off quays and beaches.”