Please select your home edition
Edition
T Clewring AC72

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...

T Clewring One DesignSchaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Kids Polarised Sunglasses from Barz Optics
Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Each pair are supplied with a neoprene case and sunglass retainer.
Posted on 4 Aug
Reducing weight aloft with composite backstays
Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Every kilogram you take out of the rig is roughly equivalent to 4kg added to the bottom of your keel!
Posted on 26 Jul
Free $US3,000 Carbon Vang with SouthernFurl boom orders in July
Southern Spars is giving a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July Southern Spars is giving away a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with all of their SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July. Carbon gas vangs make a great addition to the furling boom package, though if you’d prefer to keep your existing one, Southern Spars will offer you a 5% discount on the price of your boom instead.
Posted on 29 Jun
Newport Bermuda Race - High Noon takes honours
As the Newport Bermuda Race fleet rushed to the finish line on Monday in the wake of the first-to-finish boat, As the Newport Bermuda Race fleet rushed to the finish line on Monday in the wake of the first-to-finish boat, the powerful 100-foot grand prix Comanche, to the surprise of many they were led by an unusual boat and crew. High Noon, at 41 feet, is fully 59 feet shorter than Comanche and tens of feet shorter than many other entries.
Posted on 22 Jun
Platino recovery - Family confirms that tug has made rendezvous
Reports in social media say a salvage tug has made a rendezvous with the Platino earlier than expected. Reports in social media by family and friends of Nick Saull, the crew member killed during a catastrophic incident abroad the 66ft yacht Platino say the salvage tug which left on Tuesday night has made the rendezvous earlier than expected. The Facebook report says the tug, Sea Pelican, arrived on Friday morning, the weather in the area has eased and with a more favorable outlook.
Posted on 16 Jun
Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron to ban bottled water
Approval has been given to create a ban on bottled water that comes in plastic containers. The RQYS Management Committee has confirmed that approval has been given to create a ban on bottled water that comes in plastic containers. This will place the club as a leader in environmental impact management in Australia and around the world. The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club earlier this year did likewise. Who’s next?
Posted on 16 Jun
SouthernFurl In-Boom furling systems withstand Sydney Hobart test
Southern Spars design team have developed the SouthernFurl Boom smaller budgets and yachts from 35-70 feet. Have you ever scared your family when you got stuck with too much sail up when you should be reefed? Southern Spars’ range of SouthernFurl booms are the answer – letting you reduce sail quickly and easily without leaving the safety of the cockpit.
Posted on 23 May
2016 Garda Trentino Olympic Week - Day 4
Garda Trentino Olympic Week 2016 draws near to the conclusion: the weather once again proves difficult. Garda Trentino Olympic Week 2016 draws near to the conclusion: the weather once again proves difficult. Tomorrow the medal race is scheduled for the Lasers and another two races for the three paralympic classes.
Posted on 13 May
CCA presents RCC Award to Scott and Mary Flanders
CCA has announced that Scott and Mary Flanders are the recipients of the organization’s 2015 Royal Cruising Club Trophy. The Cruising Club of America (CCA) has announced that Scott and Mary Flanders are the recipients of the organization’s 2015 Royal Cruising Club Trophy.
Posted on 22 Apr
Cyclone Winston Relief Fund – Help the people of Fiji
Sea Mercy is sending volunteer fleet of small and large vessels, loaded with shelter, food and medical supplies to Fiji. Sea Mercy is once again sending our volunteer fleet of small and large vessels, loaded with shelter, food, water and medical supplies and teams to Fiji.
Posted on 27 Feb