Broaching of fast rescue boat during launch from ro-ro passenger ferry Commodore Clipper

Location: The Solent, near Portsmouth, England.

Accident Investigation Report 19/2002

Read our marine accident investigation report, which includes what happened, actions taken and subsequent recommendations:

dft-masafety-504196.pdf (187.46 kb)


On 18 February 2001, the fast rescue boat (FRB) on the Bahamian-registered ro-ro passenger vessel Commodore Clipper broached while being launched in the Solent. As Commodore Clipper approached her Spithead anchorage she launched her 6.1metre FRB. With a three-man crew the boat was in the water, her painter and suspension hook were still attached and the boat was being towed, at about 5knots, by the vessel. As the painter was released the boat broached and one of its occupants was thrown into the water

Safety Issues

  • the FRB broached because the painter was let go before the suspension hook was released
  • two of the boat’s crew made assumptions about painter release procedures which resulted in the painter being released before the suspension hook
  • a lack of briefing for the crew resulted in assumptions being made


Recommendations have been made to the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Bahamian Maritime Authority and the vessel’s owners, which should assist in improving the safety of FRB operations from ro-ro passenger vessels. A recommendation is also made to the vessel’s owners to obtain clarification from the manufacturers on the correct use of the davit’s wave compensating system.

This report was published in June 2002.

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015