Location: Near Brighton Pier, England.

Completed PE Summary: Unnamed powerboat

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Vessel name   Unnamed Powerboat
Owner/Manager:   Dickies International
Flag:   UK
Type:   Bénéteau Flyer 750 Sun Deck Powerboat
Built:   2007
Construction:   GRP
Length overall:   7.87m
Engine:   220kW Suzuki outboard
Date & Time   18 October 2007 1300 (UTC +1)
Location of incident:   Close to Brighton Pier
Incident Type:   Capsize
Persons onboard:   2
Injuries/fatalities:   None
Damage/pollution:   Damage during recovery only / none

Synopsis

On 18 October 2007, a local sales office received a replacement propeller for a new powerboat, which had been purchased from the manufacturer several weeks beforehand. The manager tasked a local contractor to fit the new propeller to the outboard engine and to take the boat for a sea trial to assess its performance. The manager gave the contractor permission to take his friend with him on the sea trial. With the new propeller fitted, the powerboat left Brighton Marina at about 1230. Neither the contractor nor his friend wore a lifejacket, two of which were provided in the cabin.

The contractor, who was wearing a connected engine kill cord, carried out several straight runs and two wide turns. In preparing for the third turn, he reduced speed and trimmed the engine in. He then executed an “aggressive” turn to starboard, during which the boat rolled and capsized to port. Both men entered the water but they were able to hold on to the upturned hull and await assistance.

Solent Coastguard was alerted by an onlooker and the Brighton RNLI lifeboat was tasked to the scene. Meanwhile, the two men were recovered from the water by two jet skiers and the upturned powerboat was later towed ashore.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector has written to the following, strongly advising:

Dickies International

  • That all direct employees and contractors who take control of a powerboat, should receive appropriate recognised training in its safe handling and navigation. They need to be made aware of the potential for capsize and the required safe handling procedures, which need to be passed on to customers. The company should also review its safety policy entitled Safety Afloat by carrying out further risk assessments, and strengthen its control measures accordingly, especially with respect to the carriage of a VHF radio and the wearing of lifejackets.

Chantiers Bénéteau

  • To identify the capsize mechanism and provide clear and specific safe handling advice to recognise this in the Owner’s Manual for this class of vessel.

Royal Yachting Association

  • In its current revision of the RYA Powerboat Handbook, to include specific advice on the different handling characteristics associated with the various types of hull and/or propulsion units that may be encountered.

Published: December 2007


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