At 1252 on 19 July 2016, two passenger carrying rigid inflatable boats (RIBs), Osprey and Osprey II, collided in the Firth of Forth. A passenger who was sitting on an inflatable tube of Osprey II was crushed between Osprey’s bow and Osprey II’s helm console, resulting in her sustaining serious injuries.
The MAIB investigation identified that:
Both RIBs were interacting with a larger tour boat before they commenced a power turn manoeuvre, resulting in them turning towards each other
Due to the closing speed and the lack of sea room, the skippers had insufficient time in which to react to prevent a collision
Osprey II had inboard seating for 8, and was certified to carry 12 passengers
There are currently no regulations preventing persons on RIBs from sitting on the inflatable tubes
The power turn manoeuvre had previously been carried out successfully on several occasions but it had not been formally risk assessed and no thought had been given to what to do if a potential collision situation developed
Passengers not sitting on suitable inboard seating have an increased risk of falling overboard, are at significant risk of musculoskeletal injuries and, as demonstrated by this accident, are exposed to serious injury in the event of a collision
Internal injuries are hard to diagnose without specialist medical expertise. Unless the extent of an injury is clear and can be competently addressed by those present, appropriate medical assistance should be sought immediately
A recommendation (2017/115) has been made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to include in its forthcoming Recreational Craft Code requirements for suitable seating in respect to commercially operated passenger carrying RIBs
A further recommendation (2017/116) to the Royal Yachting Association, in conjunction with the Passenger Boat Association to review the content of the two documents ‘Passenger Safety on Small Commercial High Speed Craft’ and ‘Small Passenger Craft High Speed Experience Rides’ has also been made.
A safety flyer to the small commercial vessel industry highlighting a number of the safety lessons was produced for this report.