The spokesman for the Rail and Maritime Transport Union has been granted a diversion after allegedly crashing his boat at the entrance to a Wellington marina.

RMTU general secretary Wayne Butson was charged with one count of operating a boat in a manner which caused unnecessary danger to people on July 2, but the charge was dropped yesterday after police confirmed he'd completed diversion.

The 61-year-old had been out fishing with two family members and was returning back to Seaview Marina in the evening when the incident happened, according to Senior Constable Stuart Main, the senior launch master of the police maritime unit in Wellington.

It was getting dark as Butson headed back in on his 6.7m Surtees runabout, and he had allegedly not slowed down to below five knots as is required within 200m of the shore or another structure.


"We think he probably got confused because of all the lights in the distance," Main said.

"This chap's a guy who's been boating most of his life, he's in and out of the marina a number of times. He got confused and made an error of judgment."

Butson allegedly aimed his boat around the wrong side of a lateral light at the entrance to the marina, only spotting the breakwater wall a split second before crashing into it.

"Had he been doing his correct speed I believe he would have picked up his mistake ... because he was going approximately 19 knots, everything happened so fast and with his loss of situational awareness and all the background lights he wasn't able to react in time."

All three on board were injured and taken to hospital after the crash, with at least one suffering a broken nose and another a fractured arm.

Main said it was a good reminder that even experienced, well-equipped boaties needed to be more aware.

On the police boat, they would peer review their actions and decisions, he said.

Butson refused to comment on the incident, but told the Herald "I did nothing".