THE driver of a motorboat seized after speeding dangerously on the tranquil River Frome has been ordered to undertake a boat handling course.

An investigation was launched after the blue and white boat, named Sonic and bearing a picture of Sonic the Hedgehog, was seen causing danger to others in the summer.

The River Frome is popular with swimmers, paddleboarders and kayakers

Now police say that after admitting an offence under the Merchant Shipping (safety of Navigation) Regulations 2020, a 30-year-old man from Hertfordshire has received a community resolution notice.

Marine policing team coordinator Roan Doyle, of Dorset Police, said: “In this case we saw substandard navigation skills, excessive speeds and a disregard for other water users.

"Together these create a recipe for disaster.

"Nobody was injured, but the risk was very real. What we’ve seen repeatedly is use of boats and other watercraft by individuals who have no training or experience in handling them, nor any awareness of the bylaws and restrictions in place."

As part of the conditions imposed the boater will have to undertake a Royal Yachting Association approved handling course prior to any future use of vessels in Dorset waters.

He is also ordered to pay any unpaid harbour dues and write a letter of apology to the Environment Agency, which owns and manages the River Frome.

The investigation was launched by the Dorset marine policing team and Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC).

Dorset Police say this outcome is the first of its kind under the new legislation, which creates offences where those in command of vessels fail to navigate safety.

Captain Brian Murphy, of PHC, said: “We will continue to work alongside the marine policing team and other authorities to deter dangerous behaviour in Poole Harbour. And we will continue to educate harbour users of their duty of care and help raise awareness of the bylaws that are in place to protect them, our wildlife, the environment and of course other harbour users.

“I hope the new legislation and the resolution of this case will serve as a warning to others. The rules are in place to protect lives and to ensure everyone can enjoy their time on the water safely.

"If you break the rules there will be consequences.”

The incident took place on Saturday, August 29, this year.

Environment Agency fisheries specialist Stuart Kingston-Turner said “The speed limit on the River Frome is four knots. This speed limit exists to help ensure the safety of all those that use our river, as well as for the protection of the flood banks, property and the wider environment.

"We have a large number of people enjoying the river from experienced mariners to people hiring a dinghy or canoe who may be on the water for the first time. Exceeding the speed limit increases the risk of damage and public safety."