A RIB master, whose dangerous manoeuvre of cutting across a Red Funnel ferry caused 'considerable risk to safety', has been ordered to pay more than £6,000.

The close proximity of the RIB meant the ferry's master had to slam it into reverse.

Sean Michael Gower, of Newlyn Way, Port Solent, appeared before the Isle of Wight Magistrates' Court today (Thursday).

The 30-year-old admitted misconduct of master/crew likely to endanger ships, and contravening merchant shipping relegations, on September 12, last year.

Prosecutor, Jennie Harris, told the court Gower had been at the helm of his RIB with three friends on board.

She said he passed the Red Osprey on its way to Southampton and cut across the ferry, causing its master to take action to avoid a collision.

Ms Harris said the ferry master had to put the vessel into 100 per cent reverse.

At approximately 4.30pm, the Osprey left the East Cowes terminal, and Gower exited Cowes Harbour five minutes later.

Ms Harris said his intended course was a small craft channel on the East Cowes side of the breakwater, but instead he turned left and followed the direction of the Osprey.

In police interview, Gower estimated he travelled at around 10-12 knots ­— more than double the harbour speed limit.

Ms Harris said he overtook and crossed in front of the Osprey with only eight to nine metres' distance between them.

She said the ferry shuddered as it went into reverse and had no time for signals, and his actions caused its crew to lose track of where other vessels were temporarily.

The court heard how the ferry master had to regain situational control and awareness, and was fortunate there was a south-westerly wind, otherwise it could have been set toward pontoons.

The ferry master described his actions as some of the worst he'd seen in his 11-year career, and the Cowes harbourmaster described them as extremely dangerous.

The court heard neither Gower, nor his passengers, were wearing lifejackets during their journey.

Gower, representing himself, said he understood the enormity of his actions.

He said he was very sorry for the time spent on the matter, and any distress caused to the crew of the Osprey.

Gower told the bench he was too much of a novice on the day, and said he would have enrolled on a course for owners of crafts before going out in the RIB, if not for Covid.

The court heard a friend had showed him how to operate the vessel and he didn't realise at the time he had committed an offence.

Gower said he had certainly learnt a lesson, and had done nothing but worry since the incident.

Asked by magistrates if there had been some bravado in his actions, Gower said he was in a small craft and thought he was able to nip across.

Gower was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,953 and a £190 surcharge.