Person overboard while climbing on stern trawler New Dawn to access stern trawler Horizon II, with loss of 1 life

Location: Berthed at Royal Quays marina, North Shields, England.

Accident Investigation Report 23/2014

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

Horizon II.pdf (2,122.21 kb)

Horizon II


The skipper of Horizon II was returning to his vessel after a night ashore. His vessel was berthed within the Royal Quays marina, North Shields, England and was outboard of the fishing vessel New Dawn.

As he attempted to climb the bulwark rail of New Dawn, he slipped and fell backwards. He hit his head on the quay wall and fell between the vessel and quay. Although the fall was seen by a marina employee, the skipper was unable to be recovered until 28 minutes later by the RNLI. The skipper could not be resuscitated.

Safety lessons

  • although guidance is provided, there was no requirement for New Dawn’s skipper to provide a suitable means of access or egress

  • the safety measures prescribed in Horizon II’s risk assessment folder relating to vessel access and alcohol consumption were not being implemented

  • Horizon II’s skipper would have been over the alcohol drink-drive limit had the vessel sailed as intended the following morning

  • the marina’s risk assessments did not include safe access to the fishing vessel berths, although a previous similar accident had occurred a year earlier

  • the safety equipment available at the middle pier berth was insufficient to recover a person in the water

  • the marina’s safety rail on the middle pier introduced an unnecessary hazard to gain access to the fishing vessel berths


Recommendations (2014/137 and 2014/138) have been made to the owners of Royal Quays marina designed to improve the access arrangements for the middle pier berths at the marina, and ensure that skippers using the berths are reminded of the need to apply the guidance within MGN 337(M+F).

Published: 10 September 2014

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015