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.
The investigation found that:
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.