Man overboard from potting fishing vessel Pauline Mary with the loss of 1 life

Location: East of Hartlepool, England.

Accident Investigation Report 8/2017

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

MAIB investigation report 8-2017: Pauline Mary

Fishing vessel Pauline Mary


Report on the investigation of the fatal man overboard from the potter Pauline Mary (WY 845) east of Hartlepool on 2 September 2016. When shooting pots, the crewman became entangled in the gear and was dragged overboard. Although he was recovered back on board about 20 minutes later, he could not be resuscitated. The crewman was not carrying a knife or wearing a personal flotation device; there were also passengers on board including a child.

Safety Issues

  • Shooting pots can be very hazardous and a safe system of work should be in place, ideally where the crew and ropes are physically separated
  • Wearing a personal flotation device is important for crew safety especially when working alone on deck
  • An operating fishing vessel is a hazardous environment for passengers and their presence can also be a distraction for the crew
  • Use of the digital selective calling (DSC) alert system will ensure that the coastguard are alerted to the accident location


A safety recommendation (2017/111) has been made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to update guidance for fishermen on the carriage of passengers or guests.

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

Published 4 May 2017