A CCTV eye of Falmouth Harbour. Image – Falmouth Harbour
A new CCTV system is monitoring water-borne speed and behaviour around Falmouth Harbour in a bid to keep people and property safer.
Speeding boat owners who exceed the 6 knot maximum limit in the inner harbour are warned they may face prosecution for the danger they present to swimmers, wildlife and other water users and vessels.
“We’re now recording movements in the Harbour 24/7 because unfortunately some people – either wilfully or through ignorance of the speed limits – are routinely breaking our Harbour byelaws,” says Harbour Master Miles Featherstone. “Speed is proven to be a major factor in many marine accidents through collision or excessive wake. So clearly your speed and the associated wake need to be kept right down when you’re manoeuvring in a harbour where there are hundreds of boats on moorings, large commercial and leisure vessels on the move and people swimming off quays and beaches.”
The CCTV cameras have been installed to help the Falmouth Harbour team monitor activities, maintain safety and where necessary help bring offenders to book. The cameras also offer a very high level of detail and definition.
“Harbour users should be aware that there are laws on the sea as well as on land for very good reason,” says Miles. “Collisions and near misses are all too common and even theft and anti-social behaviour aren’t unknown – so if necessary we will take action – and we’ll have the recorded proof from our CCTV system.
“We have Byelaws to protect people and we need to make sure everyone is aware of them. It’s about education first, but we are finding a lot of people breaching rules – like navigating through moorings at speed. This is simply dangerous, and we need to find ways to stop these behaviours for the safety of everyone.”
Falmouth Harbour also has the enhanced CCTV across Falmouth Haven for the many customers of the Marina and Boatpark to benefit from increased security for their vessels and property. Custom House Quay and North Quay have also received extensive upgrades to help deter antisocial behaviour and ensure that the historic quays remain safe and accessible to all local people, water-users and visitors alike.
Feedback for the new security measures is already positive: Falmouth Haven customer and harbour user Steve says, “Having been a mooring and berth holder for some 20 years, thumbs up to the new CCTV installed by Falmouth Harbour. It’s reassuring to know that information is recorded, should the need arise.”
The Managing Director of a local boat chartering company comments, “As a business owner, CCTV could be a useful deterrent against criminal activity and a useful tool to provide evidence in the case of marine incidents affecting berth holders.”
The cameras have been installed following the success of a similar system used at Plymouth’s Cattewater Harbour, where recorded images have been used to prosecute water-users contravening harbour byelaws including speeding and cutting through moorings.
The system is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act & GDPR requirements following a Data Protection Impact Assessment. Data will only be processed if an offence is suspected and all images are deleted after three months.