Persons overboard from sailing yacht Mollie Louise with loss of 1 life

Location: Off the Humber Estuary, England.

Completed PE Summary: Mollie Louise

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Recreational Craft/Accident Details
Vessel Name Mollie Louise
Registered Owner/Manager Privately owned
Port of Registry Grimsby
Flag UK
Type Sailing yacht
Built 2006
Length Overall 10.8m
Gross Tonnage 6
Date/Time 12/08/2006, 1604
Location of Incident Off the Humber estuary, 53°33.0N 000°53.0E
Incident Type Accident to Person
Persons Onboard 4 crew
Injuries/Fatalities 1 fatality
Damage/Pollution Minor damage


Three crew from the sailing yacht Mollie Louise were thrown overboard from the cockpit when their vessel was knocked down in heavy seas whilst 25nm off the Humber estuary. At the time all were wearing lifejackets, but not safety lines. The fourth crewman, who was down below, was unable to effectively raise the alarm as the yacht’s VHF radio failed, probably as he transmitted his ‘Mayday’ message. The skipper in the water also managed to make a brief ‘Mayday’ call on his handheld VHF radio before being swamped. Fortunately the yacht had made contact with the rig support vessel, Putford Provider, which was in close proximity, some 5 minutes before the knock down. The Putford Provider heard the brief ‘Mayday’ calls and closed the yacht, eventually establishing contact via loud hailer with the remaining crewman. The rescue helicopter was able to locate and recover the three casualties from the water 1hr and 25 minutes after the ‘Mayday’. Sadly one of the casualties died.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector has written to the skipper and owner of the yacht highlighting the safety issues, concerning:

Making full use of weather forecast information and the need to consider of back-up plans,

  • The benefit of hand steering in heavy seas,

  • The need for lifelines even while in the cockpit, and

  • The benefit of carrying an EPIRB, especially when operating outside of coastguard VHF radio range

Published 23 January 2015