Hull failure of rigid inflatable boat Big Yellow

Location: Porthmeor Beach, St Ives Bay, Cornwall, England.

Accident Investigation Report 11/2006

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

Big-Yellow.pdf (935.12 kb)

Annexes (1,462.60 kb)


During the early afternoon of 26 August 2005, an FRM 900, 9.1 metre RIB was conducting a high speed, thrill ride in the vicinity of St Ives Bay in Cornwall. There were 12 passengers onboard, 6 of whom were children. As the RIB headed back towards the harbour, it came to an abrupt stop as the forward section of the hull split open, immediately flooding the boat. The front bench seat was torn from its deck mountings, throwing two of the children into the water. All were rescued and none suffered serious injury.

Safety Issues

  • the investigation determined that the cause of failure was due to the RIB’s light construction and inadequate hull stiffening to cope with the normal in service forces
  • a number of anomalies with respect to the RIB’s Yellow Code examinations were also identified. The most important being that structural strength of the RIB was assumed to be compliant because it had apparently been built to the required RCD standard. In fact, this was not the case
  • the investigation also found that the skipper lacked some of the necessary qualifications and endorsements, and that the harbourmaster was unaware of the qualifications required for the boat’s operation


Recommendations have been made to Ferryman Boats Ltd, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and other stakeholders to help prevent this type of accident re-occurring.

This report was published in March 2006.

Published 23 January 2015