Grounding of yacht Siesta during delivery voyage with loss of 1 life

Location: Thames Estuary.

Completed PE Summary: Siesta

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Registered Owner & Manager:   Mr I J Dea
Flag:   UK
Type:   Yacht
Built:   1994
Gross tonnage:   0.01
Date & Time   21/06/05 03:40
Location of incident:   English Coastal Waters
Incident Type:   Grounding
Persons onboard:   3 crew
Injuries/ fatalities:   1 fatality
Damage/ Pollution:   None


11.2m sailing yacht Siesta, with a crew of three, ran aground on the Long Sand in the Thames Estuary in the final stages of a delivery voyage from SE Spain to Ipswich. When attempts to re-float by heeling the yacht and using the engine failed, the skipper went over the side with a rope around his waist with the intention of laying a kedge anchor. The rope became caught around the propeller and he was dragged underneath the yacht. After much difficulty, another crewman managed to free him, but following evacuation by helicopter, the skipper was found to have died.

Action taken

The MAIB will promulgate via its Safety Digest, safety lessons highlighting:

  • Dangers of ropes in proximity to propellers

  • Importance of thorough passage planning

  • Necessity of having charts of the correct scale for the areas to be navigated

  • Effects of fatigue when yachts are being sailed shorthanded for long periods in restricted visibility

  • Importance of risk assessment when a vessel grounds

  • Challenges of shallow, tidal waters, sailors who are more familiar with sailing in largely non tidal waters such as the Mediterranean Sea.

Help us improve GOV.UK

Don’t include personal or financial information, eg your National Insurance number or credit card details.