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Interim Accident Report


Bytheriver

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Whilst safety afloat is a very important and pertinent topic , many of the posts on this thread are personal opinions and simply that .

As far as the original topic , ie the very sad loss of a young ladies life and the interim report , I for one would rather wait until the full report and findings are published before I would speculate and out of respect for the deceased’s family and friends would urge similar .

The large cruiser getting wedged under St Olaves bridge , again we do not know the full facts and circumstances , yes could be human error ( and no one is perfect , I know I’m not) but could equally be due to mechanical fault , or being caught unawares in what is often a rushing tide which could catch many of us out.

Thankfully nobody was injured , the vessel was recovered and life goes on .

Aa far as the antics of individuals dancing on the roof , bows etc , that behaviour is something that needs addressing , but I have no idea at all what can be done to prevent such stupidity beyond spot fines and curtailing holidays which would be a very unpopular move for the industry 

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Reading through this thread two themes keep reoccurring. Firstly you can’t legislate for idiots and secondly don’t speculate. I agree you can’t legislate for idiots, but lets face it we have all been/will be that idiot at some point. We just hope we get away with it and don’t injure ourselves. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and improve safety, if things can potentially lead to an accident, you should at least try to improve them. It will never be perfect, but don’t stop trying.

As for speculating, I agree we should not speculate on a specific incident, but we should speculate in general. That’s doing a risk assessment and is at the heart of modern safety legislation. Identify what could cause an accident and you may be able to do something to prevent a future accident. The collective knowledge and experience on this forum could go a long way to improving safety standards for the Broads.

I’ve re-read the interim report again and there is one section which stands out to me. There is a list of areas which the MAIB is looking at which is then followed by a comment that advice was issued on certain areas in 2020. It appears clear to me that as well as looking at what caused this accident, MAIB is also looking at other areas which could have caused an accident (not necessarily this one) and is taking the opportunity to press the industry to up its game. I think the message between the lines is ‘we’re not happy with the progress made on our last recommendations, so sort yourselves out before the final report or we will do it for you’. A bit like Vaughan’s comment where he recognised standards were needed in gas/fuel etc. If it’s your industry do it yourself and you get standard which works for you. Let others do it and you could get anything.

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2 hours ago, marshman said:

To be honest , whilst MAIB do make valid contributions, they are not always right - I recall spending a lot of time trying to do "stability" tests on a wherry to satisfy them!!

 

Yes, a certain amount of craziness is adopted by tie-wearing pen-pushers... Hey, prove that that huge wooden boat designed to carry many tonnes of cargo under sail around relatively shallow rivers is good to carry 10-15 passengers...... 

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11 hours ago, RS2021 said:

If it’s your industry do it yourself and you get standard which works for you. Let others do it and you could get anything.

That's exactly what we did it for!  We knew we needed standards that could be practically applied and maintained and which even a small boatyard could afford.  If it had been left to outside "experts" there would have been all sorts of un-necessary impositions which might well have put us out of business.  As it is, we have standards which are practical and do-able, as they were written by practical boatyard people.  I have read the modern BSS carefully and it is all good stuff! Practical and sensible.

Remember though, that the BSS is an installation standard, which doesn't necessarily tell you how to use something safely.  It tells you how to install the cooker but not how to light it! 

Same thing applies to handling a boat, which is where a "code of practice" comes in.  If it is suggested that boatyards need to modify their "code", most of which is un-written but based on over 100 years of experience, that is a matter of opinion.  Personally I doubt that they could do more than are doing already.  Remember that Blakes agency was founded in 1908.

As to St Olaves bridge, I would guess that it was bad weather; they were all down below steering from the saloon and no-one thought to look out and check the bridge height.  And no, a bridge gauge is not enough.  You have to physically look and make sure, with the "mark one eye-ball"!  Yes, that's speculation, but based on a great deal of experience of these things.  In France we have lost literally thousands of parasols and hundreds of Bimini tops in this way! 

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I think the report mentioned the larger dual steer boats. When you look at some of the aft deck access some of them have, I'm wondering if one of the areas they may suggest needs looking at, is safety rails to stop anyone falling headlong into the water with so little protection. I'm thinking particularly about these type of cruisers. In view of the accident in question, they look frightening to me.

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These styles of boats have always bothered me.  Selsie and I want to see where each other is at all times when mooring, manoeuvring , departing a mooring etc. If I was on the stern ropes and he was on the flybridge, I assume he wouldn’t see me at all especially as I’m only 5ft 1.   Pushpit rails somehow might make it a bit safer? 

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There is a very high probability in my own personal view is that rails to prevent people falling off these boats may well make matters worse! People are attracted to these boats often by the ease of access and adding rails will unquestionably make it more difficult to get on or off ,even in emergency situations.  Adding rails which you may have to climb over may make it more difficult and it will certainly make rope handling more awkward. Your ropes will be less easy to throw and stepping ashore with a rope will be harder - it will always snag up on any pushpit you can be sure.

Not an easy answer - a large notice advocating the wearing of a life jacket whilst accessing that area wouldn't go amiss

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One of the items  on our to do list  for the boat we have just bought is to put extra grab rails at the stern for use while on the bathing platform.I never stand there while not holding onto  a rail. All it takes is a slight increase in speed ( usual when moving off) to unbalance and tip  you in.

 

Carole

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49 minutes ago, annv said:

I do think hat several of them could do with HAND rails at the rear. John

They do not need to be completely enclosed, but there should be something to hold onto in case of sudden movement or change of direction. Hitting key heading is included in this.

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4 hours ago, DAVIDH said:

I think the report mentioned the larger dual steer boats. When you look at some of the aft deck access some of them have, I'm wondering if one of the areas they may suggest needs looking at, is safety rails to stop anyone falling headlong into the water with so little protection. I'm thinking particularly about these type of cruisers. In view of the accident in question, they look frightening to me.

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An interesting collection of rear step designs. When thinking about what rails may be appropriate I think you also have to consider what the steps are being used for. They may be just for giving access to the rear deck when mooring. In this case you should be aware that the boat is coming into the bank and you may expect a bump. The steerer should also be aware that you are there. So wrap round railings may be inappropriate – and has been pointed out may actually make the situation more unsafe, a well placed grab rail may be all that is needed.

The steps may also be the main access from the boat. In this case they would be for use when the boat is moored, stationary and tied to the bank. In which case normal stair handrails may be enough. Or... they may be the main access from one living area (inside the boat) to another (the sun deck). In this case the steerer would not necessarily  be aware when they are in use and also the person using them may be carrying cups of tea, meals etc. This is the case which worries me most with these designs, especially where there is minimal deck at the bottom of the stairs. I much prefer designs where you have direct access from inside the boat to the upper deck, they seem inherently much safer to me. These pictures show designs which cover all three of these uses and I think any changes to improve them will vary with the intended use or uses.

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7 minutes ago, RS2021 said:

In this case you should be aware that the boat is coming into the bank and you may expect a bump.

I think in the sad case being referred to, they boat was turning mid-river so as to moor at the Yacht Station. It seems the boat hit the piling on the opposite side of the river (bow or stern - not sure), and that was when the poor lady fell in. So in this case, the afore warning did not work. Looking at just the blindingly obvious, it appears to me, with no experience in these matters, that this an area of design which needs to be looked at. Maybe the MAIB will enforce it. 

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My boat came with a handrail fitted all the way round, with "gates" each side at the rear - see pic. This just means I have to be aware and take care when mooring. But what about stern mooring? Well I plan to saw through 22mm stainless bar bracing the ex-davits, insert a hinge at one end and create another "gate" for the stern. Just my own view but the handrail does give a bit of a sense of security. I would be nervous with a gap in the stern section. Maybe something similar (only better designed!) for the above boats?

 

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27 minutes ago, Wussername said:

I think that we should wait for the full report before jumping to conclusions.

Absolutely, but one can’t help thinking how safe the design of something like this is, when the main access to the interior is over the sun deck, only accessible by using the awkward steps.  There isn’t even good access to the side decks from the stern platform to aid mooring.

 

There was another craft discussed in depth on here a year or two ago from WRC, which is still for sale at NYA and still remains unsold at a very attractive price for a relatively new boat.

https://www.nya.co.uk/boats-for-sale/vogue-27/

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1 hour ago, Mouldy said:

Absolutely, but one can’t help thinking how safe the design of something like this is, when the main access to the interior is over the sun deck, only accessible by using the awkward steps.  There isn’t even good access to the side decks from the stern platform to aid mooring.

 

There was another craft discussed in depth on here a year or two ago from WRC, which is still for sale at NYA and still remains unsold at a very attractive price for a relatively new boat.

https://www.nya.co.uk/boats-for-sale/vogue-27/

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We've actually had a good look round this boat. We loved the inside to be honest. My wife wouldn't hire her  because of the limited access. If I remember rightly the steps aren't a smooth surface they are a rough non slip type texture. There is LED lighting built into the superstructure that lights it up very well in the dark. 

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7 hours ago, marshman said:

Having handrails on those that don't have them could help, but everyone out the back underway should have a lifejacket on at the very minimum!

While I wouldn't discourage the use of lifejackets I know of two incidents where some one in both cases a privateer almost drowned held trapped under a boat by the buoyancy of their lifejacket having fallen in while mooring up, the point being their is no one size fits all answer to any problem and no amount of training will eliminate all mishaps or Murphys law.

Fred

 

 

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