Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Vital life raft stowage lessons after inquiry into fatal sinking

by Sail-World Cruising on 18 Aug 2013
Is your life raft stowed correctly .. .
It was back in May this year that three British fishermen drowned when their fishing boat foundered and sank so quickly that they had no time to set off a mayday or even collect their life jackets - but it was what happened to the life raft that sounds a warning to all cruising sailors.

David McFarlane, 35, Jack Craig, 21, and Robert Prowse, 20, were onboard the Purbeck Isle when it went missing.


Britain's Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report has said it was 'entirely possible' they could have survived if only their automatically-inflating life raft had inflated.

Because of the lack of a distress signal, the coastguard was not alerted for hours and the boat was not found until the day after it had sunk. After the fishing boat had not returned on schedule and a search was started, it was found at a depth of 164ft, south of Portland Bill, with its life raft still on board.

A release unit used to secure the life raft in its cradle activated as the vessel sank.

But the raft failed to float free and inflate because it had not been properly stowed and sank to the seabed.

'Because the life raft canister did not fit snugly into its cradle, the skipper had applied additional lashings to prevent it from falling off the wheelhouse roof in heavy seas,' the report said.

'These additional lashings had been intertwined with the life raft's main lashing rope and they prevented the raft from floating free.'

Meanwhile, the coastguard was not alerted to the Purbeck Isle's plight for seven hours as it was not fitted with an emergency position-indicating radio beacon or similar distress signalling device.

The body of Mr McFarlane, from Weymouth, was found entangled in ropes attached to Purbeck Isle's two lifebuoys the day after the sinking. The wreck of the vessel was found later that day.

The search for the two missing fishermen was called off two days after the tragic incident. Only one was later located.

A spokeswoman from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said it was implementing the recommendations from the MAIB report. 'Regulations, standards and good safety practices are vital to ensure the safety of lives at sea. Working together with the Fishing Industry Safety Group, we are all keen to nurture improvements in the safety of commercial fishing vessel operations.'

And it's a heads-up for cruising sailors as well...

Mackay BoatsHelm Events 660x82Barz Optics - Kids range

Related Articles

Sounds like a boat - Lisa Blair's departure delayed due to electronics
Final preparations of her yacht, Climate Action Now by Sydney-based sailor Lisa Blair have uncovered an electrical issue Final preparations and safety checks of her yacht, Climate Action Now by Sydney-based sailor Lisa Blair have uncovered an electrical issue.
Posted on 15 Jan
Lisa Blair starts Solo Circumnavigation of Antarctica
Over 3,500 people have climbed Mount Everest, only two men have sailed solo, non-stop and unassisted around Antarctica. Over 3,500 people have climbed Mount Everest, over 500 have rowed across the various oceans and 12 people have landed on the moon. Only two men have sailed solo, non-stop and unassisted around Antarctica. Sydney-based Lisa Blair, 32, intends to become the first woman, the fastest and the third person in history to conquer such a challenge.
Posted on 14 Jan
When whales meet sails
CAMPER helmsman Roberto ‘Chuny’ Bermudez found himself nearly face to face with whale in middle of North Atlantic Ocean. Currently the database for marine mammal strikes is very sparse. We are requesting sailors and boaters help to submit information on current and past incidents, however long ago that may be. By giving a location, date, identification if possible, and any other relevant information you can help scientists better understand where marine mammals are at risk for strikes
Posted on 8 Jan
Potential instability in Atlantic Ocean water circulation system
One of the world’s largest ocean circulation systems may not be as stable as today’s weather models predict One of the world’s largest ocean circulation systems may not be as stable as today’s weather models predict, according to a new study. In fact, changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) — the same deep-water ocean current featured in the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” — could occur quite abruptly, in geologic terms, the study says.
Posted on 6 Jan
10,000 metric tons of plastic enter Great Lakes every year
A new study inventories and tracks high concentrations of plastic in Great Lakes could help inform cleanup efforts A new study by Rochester Institute of Technology that inventories and tracks high concentrations of plastic in the Great Lakes could help inform cleanup efforts and target pollution prevention.Researchers found that nearly 10,000 metric tons—or 22 million pounds—of plastic debris enter the Great Lakes every year from the United States and Canada.
Posted on 2 Jan
Flood threats changing across the US
The risk of flooding in the United States is changing regionally, and the reasons could be shifting rainfall patterns The risk of flooding in the United States is changing regionally, and the reasons could be shifting rainfall patterns and the amount of water in the ground. In a new study, University of Iowa engineers determined that, in general, the threat of flooding is growing in the northern half of the U.S. and declining in the southern half.
Posted on 2 Jan
The Deepwater Horizon aftermath
Researchers analyze 125 compounds from oil spilled in Gulf of Mexico to determine their longevity at different levels. Researchers analyze 125 compounds from oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico to determine their longevity at different contamination levels. The oil discharged into the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) rig in 2010 contaminated more than 1,000 square miles of seafloor.
Posted on 1 Jan
What happened to Deepwater Horizon Oil?
What happened to the 160 million gallons of oil that gushed for 87 days into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010? Six years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we are continually asked two questions. What happened to the 160 million gallons of oil that gushed for 87 days into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010? Was discharging 1.67 million gallons of chemicals into the ocean to disperse the oil a good or bad idea?
Posted on 24 Dec 2016
10 Best places to catch New Year’s Eve fireworks by boat
Want the best views of the NYE fireworks 2017? Check out these 10 destinations where you can celebrate New Year’s Eve Want the best views of the NYE fireworks 2017? Check out these 10 alternative destinations where you can celebrate New Year’s Eve with a bang! A new interactive map detailing the top 10 destinations to experience the fireworks by the water has been released by boat hire company Sailogy. The interactive map includes top European cities like Barcelona, Naples and Lisbon...
Posted on 22 Dec 2016
TowBoatUS comes to the Caribbean
Capt. Robert Manley has opened TowBoatUS St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). Capt. Robert Manley, a New Jersey native who has been running marine businesses in the Caribbean for the last 25 years, has opened TowBoatUS St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). “I’ve been towing boats and helping boaters ever since I came to St. Thomas,” he said. “The only real difference now is that I am working with BoatUS, which has great member benefits.”
Posted on 21 Dec 2016