Capsize of open dory with the loss of 1 life

Location: Fountain Lake, Portsmouth, England.

Accident Investigation Report 6/2001

Investigation report into marine accident including what happened, safety lessons and recommendations made:

portsmouth-dory.pdf (1,833.70 kb)


On 16 September 1999 a school party travelled to Whale Island, Portsmouth, England to go sailing. Due to the conditions on arrival an alternative activity was organised for six of the pupils. With a teacher in charge the pupils donned lifejackets and boarded a school-owned dory with outboard engine.

Once underway, water began accumulating inside the boat through spray and from the activities of those on board. The freeboard was slowly decreasing and the dory began to roll. For a second time the outboard engine stalled and this time could not be restarted. Without power, four pupils were told to start paddling. About 75 metres from the pontoon, the dory capsized and pitched the occupants into the water. The casualties, buoyed by lifejackets and aided by the upturned hull, were quickly recovered by another vessel. When the rescue was complete one of the children was found to be missing. The youngster was found underneath the upturned dory and later died in hospital.

Published: 20 March 2001

Published 23 January 2015