Bournemouth beach deaths: Inquiry finds impounded boat ‘was not licensed’ by local council

A boat impounded as part of the Bournemouth beach deaths investigation ‘was not licensed’ by the local council it has emerged
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The sightseeing boat impounded as part of the investigation into the deaths of two teenagers in Bournemouth ‘was not licensed’ by the local council it has emerged. It is currently not yet known whether any other organisation had licensed the boat.

Dorset Police impounded The Dorset Belle following the tragic incident on Wednesday (May 31), where a 12-year-old girl from Buckinghamshire and a 17-year-old boy from Southampton both died. Another eight people were saved from the water and treated by paramedics.

A man in his 40s who was “on the water” at the time of the incident was then arrested on suspicion of manslaughter but has since been released under investigation while police continue their investigation. Yesterday the 49-year-old passenger boat remained in Cobb’s Quay, Poole Harbour and was guarded by a police van.

Live ship tracking website Marine Traffic, showed The Dorset Belle as having visited Bournemouth Pier, where the incident took place, at 4pm. The boat visited the pier just minutes before the first 999 calls were made to emergency services.

Following the tragic incident, the passenger boat then returned to the scene later in the afternoon. Dorset Police had previously said no physical contact was made between swimmers and a vessel or jet-ski and the 10 people involved had not been jumping off the pier into the water.

A spokesperson for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council has since revealed the boat was not licensed by the local council. The government authority’s website says: "Any person who wishes to be in charge or navigate a pleasure boat/vessel, including Poole Harbour and Christchurch Harbour, for the purpose of letting it out for hire to members of the public, or to be used for carrying passengers for hire, must obtain a licence from us."

The Dorset Belle has been impounded by police following the Bournemouth beach deaths inquiryThe Dorset Belle has been impounded by police following the Bournemouth beach deaths inquiry
The Dorset Belle has been impounded by police following the Bournemouth beach deaths inquiry

Dorset Police has declined to make any comments on the investigation, including not disclosing what, if any, vessel was involved in the incident. Conservative MP for Bournemouth East, Tobias Ellwood has said he believes the police need to provide more information to avoid “wild speculation”.