6 boaters are counting the cost after they’ve been ordered to pay more than £4,300 for flouting the law on East Anglian rivers.
They failed to register their vessels, and the Environment Agency is warning other boaters not to do the same or they, too, could face fines, fees and even criminal convictions.
Boat owners are legally required to register any vessel they keep, use, or let for hire on Environment Agency waterways, and to clearly display a valid registration plate.
But Angela Quinn (South Road, Brandon, Suffolk), Jack Hawksbee (Coronation Avenue, Whittlesey, Peterborough), John Day (Riverside Mead, Stanground, Peterborough), Lewis Burton (Church Street, Great Wilbraham, Cambridgeshire), and Alan Gamble and Michael Paris (both of Upware Marina, Ely) all failed to do so.
All the cases were proved at Cambridge Magistrates Court on 25 April.
Ms Quinn was ordered to pay £904, Mr Hawksbee, £869, Mr Day, £496, Mr Burton, £470, Mr Gamble, £1,106 and Mr Paris £495 in the next 28 days.
It brings the total of avoided registration charges recouped by the Environment Agency so far this year to £110,000 – money which will be reinvested into maintaining, improving and protecting waterways.
Nathan Arnold, waterways team leader at the Environment Agency, said:
Our waterways are part of our nation’s rich heritage and beauty, and they contribute to our environment, economy and health and wellbeing.
But boaters who break the law by not registering their boats are putting the future of these historic and precious waterways at risk – so we won’t hesitate to take action against them.
As well as not contributing their fair share towards the upkeep of waterways, unregistered boats can be unsafe, hazardous to other river users and a pollution risk to the local environment and wildlife.
The Environment Agency looks after 353 miles of navigable waterways in the Anglian network, which includes the Ancholme, Black Sluice, Glen, Welland, Nene, Great Ouse and Stour, as well as associated locks and navigation facilities like slipways, moorings, showers and toilets.
More information about boating and waterways, including registering vessels, is available from the Environment Agency. If you suspect a boat is illegal, please contact the EA on 03708 506 506 or email