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

Location: off Polperro, Cornwall, England.

Accident Investigation Report 27/2000

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

harbour lights.pdf (1,358.45 kb)


This reports the MAIB’s investigation into the loss of the single-handed fishing vessel Harbour Lights, and its skipper, off Polperro, Cornwall, England on 8 January 2000. 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. 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.

Published: 31 August 2000

Published 23 January 2015