Man overboard from potter Our Sarah Jane with loss of 1 life

Location: English channel

Accident Investigation Report 26/2016

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

MAIB investigation report 26-2016: Our Sarah Jane

Photograph of potter Our Sarah Jane (image courtesy of Ian Greenwood,
Photograph showing the port lifebuoy


On 9 June 2016 a crewman jumped overboard from the potter Our Sarah Jane (NN710) to remove fishing gear that was fouling the starboard propeller and effectively anchoring the vessel to the seabed while in the English Channel. He immediately got into difficulty and was carried away from the vessel by a strong tidal stream. Despite the efforts of the vessel’s skipper and the remaining crewman, the deckhand disappeared from view. His body was not recovered.

Safety lessons

  • the crewman had jumped into the water despite the vessel’s skipper instructing him NOT to do so
  • the deckhand’s actions were possibly influenced by recreational drugs
  • the deckhand and a second crewman who also entered the water almost certainly suffered from cold water shock
  • a lifebuoy with a line attached was not readily available and emergency drills were not conducted


A recommendation (2016/154) has been made to the vessel’s owner aimed at ensuring that lifesaving equipment is readily available and improving the crew’s ability to deal effectively with emergency situations.

A safety flyer highlighting a number of the safety issues was produced for this report.

Published 8 December 2016