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sail-world.com -- Sailing Club's 17-year-old RIB drivers 'inexperienced' after collision

Sailing Club's 17-year-old RIB drivers 'inexperienced' after collision    
Fri, 21 Oct 2011

When investigations are carried out after sailing incidents it can be a 'heads-up' for all, whether they are in the involved sailing club or not, or even in the same country. In this case the incident concerned the collision of two RIBs after a sailing club event.

Safety issues and recommendations have emerged, following a report from the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), into a collision between two RIBs that resulted in injuries to a number of children.

The two 5m RIBs were part of a group of four used to ferry a total of 20 young girls across Cardiff Bay in the dark from the clubhouse of the Cardiff Bay Yacht Club to their accommodation, following a sail coaching event. Two of the four RIBs were carrying seven and six people, including the two 17 year old drivers. Neither boat had navigation lights or torches.

Soon after setting out, these two RIBs concerned collided, with three girls falling overboard and a fourth being ejected from one boat into the other. All three overboard were soon successfully recovered back into their boats and, in company with the other two RIBs, continued on to the hostel.

Medically trained personnel checked those involved, concluding that none required medical attention. Subsequently, three of the girls required extended medical treatment, including one who was diagnosed as having sustained a ‘traumatic brain injury of moderate severity’.

The investigation found that the two 17 year old drivers were neither sufficiently trained or experienced to operate power driven craft at night without supervision. The yacht club chief instructor should have been aware of a local harbour authority ‘common sense regulation’ forbidding the operation of vessels of such horsepower by persons under the age of 18 in Cardiff Bay at any time. The report draws attention to RYA guidance, following a similar accident, relating to seating arrangements and capacity for such craft. Earlier reprimands for drivers’ ‘thrill seeking behaviour’ were not reviewed when considering the voyage. The investigation also addressed navigation lights, safe speed, seating arrangements, use of buoyancy aids, the boats’ condition and the care of the injured girls.

Action has been taken by those involved, and recommendations include that the yacht club should review its safety management system relating to a number of aspects. The harbour authority is recommended to confirm the appointment of a designated person, as required by the Port Marine Safety Code, and take measures to raise their profile as the statutory harbour authority with its stakeholders.

For access to download the complete report, click here.

by Peter Barker, Maritime Journal/Sail-World



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