Grounding of powerboat Sea Snake with 3 people injured and loss of 3 lives

Location: Near the entrance to Tarbert Harbour, Loch Fyne, Scotland.

Accident Investigation Report 10/2006

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

Sea Snake.pdf (532.10 kb)


At about 0150 on 10 July 2005, the leisure powerboat Sea Snake crashed at high speed into a low cliff near the entrance to Tarbert’s inner harbour. As a result, three people lost their lives and three others were seriously injured.

Safety Issues

  • the combination of the effects of fatigue and excessive alcohol consumption was most likely the principal factor contributing to this accident
  • the driver of the powerboat probably became unsure and confused by the navigation marks leading to the inner harbour, and decided to turn Sea Snake around to starboard and make another approach
  • the powerboat was being operated at an unsafe speed for the location and prevailing conditions
  • there is little effective legislation in the UK to limit the consumption of alcohol when operating leisure boats. The Tarbert Harbour Authority Bye-Laws did not include any reference to the navigation of a vessel when under the influence of drink or drugs


The only recommendation that would be appropriate as a consequence of this investigation is identical to a recommendation made in our recent Carrie Kate and Kets investigation report, therefore repetition of the recommendation in this report is not necessary.

This report was published in March 2006.

Published 23 January 2015