Grounding of motor pleasure yacht Choice

Location: Blyth Sands, River Thames-Sea Reach, England.

Accident Investigation Report 33/2002

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

choice.pdf (610.39 kb)


The former fishing vessel, mv Choice, which used for ‘team-building’ training, was on passage down the river Thames in the early morning of 9 August 2001. Ten students were embarked. At 0640 UTC she ran aground. The master, who was on watch in the wheelhouse, had not noticed that an untrained helmsman had steered the vessel out of the main navigable channel.

Safety Issues

  • the master was fatigued
  • the master was not monitoring the vessel’s position
  • the master did not use the electronic charts available
  • the master was distracted by the number of people in the wheelhouse, and by a discussion with a student
  • environmental factors possibly influenced his perception of the vessel’s position
  • the master was not alerted by others who had concerns over the vessel’s position


Recommendations have been made to the owner aimed at ensuring that all watchkeepers are properly rested and that training requirements are effectively managed to prevent interference with the safe operation of the vessel.

This report was published in October 2002.

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015