A MAN has been fined £650 after riding a jet ski at speed less than an arm’s length away from children swimming.
Chris Cronin, 22, launched his craft from Daedalus slipway in Lee-on-the-Solent before speeding along at 35 to 40 knots near the children – he then turned around and did the same again.
Fareham Magistrates’ Court heard that when the police’s marine unit were called, he ignored their sirens.
When he did respond, he attempted to come alongside the police boat but instead accelerated and collided with it.
As reported in July, a Marine Parade West resident, who does not wish to be named, called for action after he photographed similar incidents.
He said: ‘This is something that occurs every day.
‘The only way they’re going to stop is to close that slipway to jet skiers. Someone is going to get killed.’
A member of the public was close to the shack cafe at Hill Head beach when he saw Cronin speeding east to west close to the shoreline at 4.10pm.
He described how the jet ski created a large wake and he estimated the craft was travelling between 35 and 40 knots.
He called 999 after hearing children screaming: ‘He’s coming back again’.
Cronin, of Walnutt Close, Bicester, who took to the water on July 7 this year, was found guilty of two offences in his absence under the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth Order 2005.
He operated a jet ski in the dockyard port area without a Queen’s Harbour Master licence and was at a speed in excess of the 10 knots speed limit.
Cronin was fined £250 for each and was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £50 and £100 toward prosecution costs.
The Queen’s Harbour Master Commander Nigel Hare said: ‘I recognise there are many people that use personal water craft responsibly and that is why we have created the zones.
‘But those that decide to put themselves or others at risk need to understand that they run the risk of prosecution.’
There is a designated and unrestricted speed area for jet skis to use.
Outside of the designated area, a speed limit of 10 knots applies.
The chairman of the bench said an unusually high fine was given as Cronin had put the lives of swimmers at risk, he was not in proper control, and he had a blatant disregard of the regulations.