The Port Authority have statutory powers to regulate the conduct of vessels and persons within the harbour limits and the Harbour Master’s jurisdiction. To assist in the management of marine operations, the preservation of public safety, and the protection of the environment, enforcement action will sometimes be necessary.

It is recognised that most harbour users will seek to comply with the law and local practice. The Port Authority will, where possible, help users to meet their legal obligations without unnecessary expense while taking firm action – including prosecution where appropriate – against those who flout the law or act irresponsibly.

In making decisions about enforcement action, the Authority will act in wider public interest with a primary aim of securing a safe and pollution free environment.


Enforcement action can take the form of:

(a) A warning.
(b) Suspension or revocation of a licence issued in accordance with the Bye-laws.
(c) A formal caution.
(d) Prosecution.
(e) A combination of any of the above.


In considering the appropriate enforcement action, the Authority will take into account the following:

(a) The risk of harm to the public and others.
(b) What is in the public interest.
(c) The seriousness of the complaint.
(d) The explanation of the offender.
(e) Whether the matter is a recurrence.
(f) Whether there have been other contraventions of Bye-laws or Legislation.
(g) The willingness of the alleged offender to prevent a recurrence of the incident.
(h) The availability of witnesses.
(i) The reliability of witnesses.
(j) The sufficiency of evidence.


Before any enforcement action is contemplated, the evidence shall be subject to a formal review to decide if there is a case to answer and substantial evidence in support of the case. The review shall be conducted by the Harbour Master and a legal expert if required.


The decision as to what level of enforcement action to take is to be taken the Board of the Port Authority. It is a prerequisite of tabling the matter for consideration that the evidence review has concluded that there is substantial (although not necessarily conclusive) evidence on which any prosecution could be based.

In deciding what action is to be taken, the Board shall consider the factors listed in the policy and also consider any aggravating or mitigating public interest factors such as:

(a) A conviction is likely to result in a significant sentence.
(b) The defendant was in a position of trust.
(c) Evidence that the offence was pre-meditated.
(d) The defendant has previous convictions relevant to the offence.
(e) The offence was committed as a result of a genuine mistake or misunderstanding.
(f) The defendant has put right the loss or harm that was caused.

The Board must record their reasons for taking the level of enforcement action decided upon.


Prosecution will be considered in the following circumstances:

(a) Where the alleged offence is a flagrant breach of bye-laws or legislation such that public safety or wellbeing is put at risk.
(b) Where the alleged offence involves failure to comply with a warning.
(c) Where there is a history of similar offences.
(d) Where the alleged offence involves risk of damage to the environment.
(e) There are other public interest factors mitigating in favour of prosecution.

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