Anstruther boat accident leads to new safety guideline recommendations

Anstruther Scotland - July 26 2012: Fife area yachts in the village harbor at low tide.Last year’s boating accident in Anstruther has led to new safety guideline recommendations. The accident, which occurred on the Firth of Forth last summer involved the collision of two inflatable boats. A 45-year-old woman and mother of two children suffered permanent damage to her eyesight and a punctured lung in the accident. The woman’s injuries were the result of being crushed. Osprey II, the boat involved in the accident, was carrying 11 passengers instead of the boat’s normal 8 passenger occupancy. The boat had seven adults and four children when the accident occurred. The boat often sold two additional tickets when the weather was good. The two additional passengers were seated in inflatable tubes rather the boat’s interior bench.

The woman involved in the accident was sitting on an inflatable tube at the time the boating accident occurred.

Captains of each ship, both the Osprey and the Osprey II increased speed and then attempted to power turn away from each other. The captains both reacted by reducing their speed and tried to avoid an accident knowing that the boats were about to collide. The quick actions by the two boats did little to prevent the accident.

The mother of two was on the ship with her husband and two children. When the boats collided, she was taken to the hospital with a punctured lung, lacerations, bruising, broken collar bones and five broken ribs. Internal injuries resulted in damage to both of her eyes.

Incident reports indicate that passengers not on the inboard seating are at a much higher risk of injuries and falling overboard if a collision occurs.

The boats, considered rigid inflatable boats (RIB) did not break regulations during the accident. No regulations are in place that prohibit passengers from sitting on the inflatable tubes despite the heightened risk of injuries.

Waterfront apartment building at night in Canton Baltimore Maryland.The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has advised the Maritime and Coastguard Agency that regulations be put in place that limit the allowable numbers of passengers to the amount of suitable seats for passengers.

Owners of the Osprey and Osprey II, Isle of May Boat Trips Ltd, have banned passengers from sitting on the inflatable tubes following the accident. The owners have also banned crew members from sitting on the tubes and have limited the number of passengers to 12 on the Osprey and 8 on the Osprey II, the seating corresponds to the number of non-inflatable tube seats on each vessel.

Twin RIB operations have also been banned by the company expect in emergency situations.

Passenger limit recommendations have been made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The ships’ captains both acted promptly to reduce their speed to lessen the impact during collision. The captains were both found to be unable to prevent the accident.

The risk assessment of the maneuver had not been performed prior to the accident despite the move being performed with success in the past. The investigation states that there was no thought given to what to do in the event of a collision situation.

Osprey II’s skipper tried to reduce the engine’s speed, turn to port and engage the astern gear to prevent the accident. The skipper of the Osprey II assessed the passenger’s injuries but couldn’t relocate the woman to the bench seats due to the passenger’s injuries.