Man who crashed boat into rocks while speeding and drinking punished in Portsmouth court after crew injured

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The owner of a boat who smashed his vessel into a cluster rocks and injured his friends has been punished.

Ian Sullivan, 55, from Swindon, pleaded guilty to two offences in Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday (February 16). He admitted to a failure to keep a proper lookout and failure to proceed at a safe speed under The Merchant Shipping (Distress Signals and Prevention of Collisions) Regulations 1996.

Sullivan grounded the vessel, named Sully, in Totland Bay, Isle of Wight, in September 2022. Three onboard passengers sustained serious injuries when the vessel collided with rocks at the shoreline. One crew member sustained life-changing injuries.

Ian Sullivan, 55, from Swindon, pleaded guilty after crashing his boat off the coast of the Isle of Wight.Ian Sullivan, 55, from Swindon, pleaded guilty after crashing his boat off the coast of the Isle of Wight.
Ian Sullivan, 55, from Swindon, pleaded guilty after crashing his boat off the coast of the Isle of Wight. | NW

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Court heard that several witnesses reported that the brightly lit motor cruiser crossed Totland Bay at speed on the night of 24 September and would have been unlikely to maintain a proper lookout. The vessel continued without deviating or slowing down before grounding on the shore at high speed. RNLI vessels, police and the coastguard were all deployed on an extensive search.

During the sentencing His Honour Judge Newton-Price said Sullivan operated his boat in an unsafe manner and as a result caused his passengers significant injuries. Consumption of alcohol affected Sullivan’s judgement, he added. The grounding caused serious damage to the vessel, which has proved impossible to salvage and remains marooned high and dry on the shore.

Sullivan has been sentenced to 18 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months, and must complete 150 hours of unpaid work. He must also pay court costs. Mark Cam, Senior Investigator with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's regulatory compliance investigations team (RCIT), said: "This result demonstrates that the MCA will always take appropriate and necessary action when a complete lack of compliance and disregard for the laws of the sea are shown; it compromises not only safety but ultimately the lives of many.

"Mr Sullivan’s vessel was wrecked and three of his friends seriously injured. We want to send a clear message that such offences are not acceptable and those unwilling to follow rules and regulation and improve standards of safety will face the full weight of the law."