Man overboard from single-handed creel boat Sea Mist with loss of 1 life

Location: Macduff, Scotland.

Accident Investigation Report 14/2019

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

MAIB investigation report 14-2019: Sea Mist

Sea Mist alongside in the harbour


At about 1225 on 27 March 2019, the skipper/owner of the single-handed creel boat Sea Mist, became entangled in a back rope while shooting creels and was hauled overboard. No-one witnessed the accident. However, the skipper’s son, who was nearby on his own fishing vessel, Ocean Lee, saw Sea Mist circling shortly afterwards and raised the alarm. At 1321, Sea Mist’s skipper was recovered from the water by the crew from a Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboat. He was declared deceased on arrival at hospital.

Sea Mist’s skipper was working alone on deck without a personal flotation device and there were no barriers in place to separate him from his fishing gear. The investigation concluded that he drowned either because he was dragged underwater by the weight of the creels and was unable to free himself in time to reach the surface, or because he was unable to keep himself afloat after releasing his foot from his wellington boot.

Safety issues

  • the skipper drowned because he was dragged overboard by the fishing gear and was unable to free himself or survive on the surface

  • there was no physical barrier separating the skipper from the fishing gear on the working deck

  • the skipper was not wearing a personal flotation device when he entered the water


Recommendations (2019/199 and 2019/120) have been made to the Fishing Industry Safety Group Co-ordination Group aimed at improving awareness of the safety guidance that is widely available to fishing vessel owners and crew, and the importance of following it.

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

Published 15 November 2019