Man overboard from creel fishing vessel Varuna with loss of 1 life

Location: west of Camusterrach on the north-west coast of Scotland.

Accident Investigation Report 13/2018

Investigation report into marine accident including what happened and safety lessons learned:

MAIB investigation report 13-2018: Varuna

Creel boat Varuna


At about 1415 on 20 November 2017, the single-handed creel boat Varuna was found aground and unmanned on Eilean nan Naomh, a small island west of Camusterrach on the north west coast of Scotland. Despite an extensive sea, land and air search the owner was not found until 3 weeks after the accident when his body washed ashore in Staffin Bay on the Isle of Skye.

Safety lessons

  • the owner did not use the slot-in transom door following shooting, or wear a safety tether on deck therefore the chances of falling through the shooting gate were significantly increased

  • the owner was not wearing a PFD or lifejacket

  • the owner did not carry a PLB therefore he had no means of alerting anyone once he had fallen overboard


In view of recent and proposed changes to legislation, no recommendations are made in this report.

A safety flyer to the fishing industry highlighting a number of the safety lessons was produced for this report.

Published 4 July 2018