Person overboard from gill netter Harbour Lights with loss of 1 life

Location: off Polperro, Cornwall, England.

Accident Investigation Report 27/2000

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

harbour lights.pdf (1,358.45 kb)


On 8 January 2000 the single-handed fishing vessel Harbour Lights, and its skipper was lost, off Polperro, Cornwall, England. While deploying the last gill net, he fell overboard. The vessel continued on until it hit rocks and broke up just east of Downend Point, about half a mile east of Polperro.

Safety Issues

  • the skipper did not normally wear a lifejacket and the accident spurred the harbourmaster of Polperro and the skippers father to organise a lifejacket campaign in the area


A recommendation has been addressed to the training section of the Sea Fish Industry Authority emphasising the importance of wearing lifejackets and carrying waterproof portable VHF sets on fishing vessels operated single-handedly. If such fishermen fall overboard the lifejacket will keep them afloat and the radio will enable them to summon help, thus enhancing their chances of survival.

This report was published on 31 August 2000.

Published 23 January 2015