Boat owners are being urged to make sure their vessels are properly registered – or face paying thousands of pounds in penalties.
The call comes after six boaters were ordered to forfeit more than £7,200 between them – all for failing to register their craft for use on the River Nene.
It is a legal requirement for boat owners to register any vessel they keep, use or let for hire on Environment Agency waterways, and to clearly display a valid registration plate.
None of the guilty six had done so.
Mark Bennett of Meadow View in Great Addington, Jim Brown of Station Road in Ringstead, David Campion of Oxford Street in Finedon, Andrew James MacGilliuray of Kestrel Lane in Wellingborough, Stewart Richardson of Ringstead Road in Ringstead, and Robert William Whiteside of Beloe Crescent in King’s Lynn have each been given 14 days to pay up.
Their cases were heard at Northampton Magistrates Court on May 1.
Mr Bennett was ordered to pay a total of £944.99, Mr Brown £1,393.29, Mr Campion £944.99, Mr MacGilliuray – who owned three of the unregistered vessels – had to pay £2655.95, Mr Richardson £503.98, and Mr Whiteside £843.98.
It brings the total amount of avoided registration charges that have been recovered by the Environment Agency this year to almost £120,000.
The cash is reinvested into maintaining, improving and protecting waterways.
Nathan Arnold, waterways partnerships and development team leader, said: “Our historic and precious waterways are an important part of our nation’s heritage and are enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people every year.
“Those who don’t contribute as they should are threatening the future of our waterways – and we won’t hesitate to take action against them.”
As well as not contributing to the upkeep of waterways, unregistered boats can be unsafe, hazardous to other river users, and a pollution risk to the local environment and its 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 moorings, showers and toilets.
More information about boating and waterways, including registering vessels, is available at www.gov.uk/ea.
Anyone who suspects a boat is illegal can contact the Environment Agency on 03708 506506 or email email@example.com.