Person overboard from narrowboat Olesea with loss of 1 life

Location: Canal, England.

Completed PE Summary - Olesea

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Recreational Craft/Accident Details
Vessel Name Olesea
Registered Owner/Manager Canaltime
Flag UK
Type Narrow boat
Built 2002
Construction Steel
Length Overall 13.7m
Gross Tonnage 14
Date/Time 01/08/2006, 1605
Incident Type Accident to person
Persons Onboard 4 passengers
Injuries/Fatalities 1 fatality


A family were enjoying a holiday on a hired narrow boat. While attempting to moor alongside, waiting their turn for a lock, the boat struck the canal bank. The helmsman was seen to tip over the guard rail around the stern and fall into the water. The engine was stopped quickly, but the helmsman was entangled in the propeller and died from his injuries.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has published an “Safety Flyer”, circulated with the assistance of industry associations and voluntary bodies to raise awareness of the lessons learnt from this accident. A letter has also been written to the hire company highlighting safety issues to consider:

Where guard rails are fitted, that they are of adequate height to prevent people from falling overboard near the propeller.

Measures designed to provide guidance to inexperienced boaters on the importance of checking canal maps for potential obstacles such as locks or bridges, and to slow down when the view ahead is obscured so as to avoid the need to make difficult manoeuvres at short notice.

The use of industry schemes to develop and audit their handover and training systems.

Published 23 January 2015