Snagging, capsizing and sinking by shrimp trawler Misty Dawn

Location: 1 mile west of Silloth in Cumbria, England.

Completed PE Summary: Misty Dawn

A short summary of the accident and action taken.

Fishing Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name Misty Dawn
Registered Owner Privately owned
Port of Registry Pending registry at time of accident
Flag UK
Type Shrimp trawler
Built 1980
Construction Steel
Length Overall 8.49m
Gross Tonnage 7.34
Date/Time 23/06/2008, 1250 (UTC)
Location of Incident Off Silloth
Incident Type Capsize and sinking
Persons Onboard 2
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution Total loss of vessel


Misty Dawn sailed from Maryport at 1130 on 23 June 2008. The intention of the two young men on board was to trawl for shrimps, in the Silloth Channel and to return to port later the same day.

At 1245, having put the winch into gear to recover the trawl, the fishing gear fouled on the sea bed 1 mile west of Silloth. The vessel had been trawling with the tide, and now, with foul gear, she very quickly slewed off course to port and began to heel over to port. At this time the young man on the helm placed the wheel to starboard and attempted to power the vessel back onto her original heading; the second young man attempted, unsuccessfully, to take the winch out of gear in order to release the trawl warp.

Despite the crew’s attempts to rectify the situation the heel to port increased until deck edge immersion occurred, at which time the vessel rolled quickly to port and capsized at 1250. At the time of the capsize both of the crew were pushed back into the wheelhouse by the on rushing water, and found themselves trapped, with the vessel now fully capsized. One of the young men managed to swim clear quite quickly while the second was reliant on a pocket of air in the wheelhouse before managing to swim out and, despite snagging his shirt on the trawl winch, he eventually got clear of the vessel.

The vessel then sank stern-first and the two young men managed to cling onto a lifebuoy which fortunately had floated clear. However, there had not been time to alert anyone to their predicament, and they now found themselves at the mercy of the strong flood tide, and being swept up the Solway Firth. Fortunately for them, as they were close to the east end of Silloth they were spotted from ashore and the alarm was raised. They were rescued after more than an hour in the water, but after a medical check-up were able to return to their homes.

Action taken

  • The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the owner of the vessel stressing the importance of undertaking risk assessments, ensuring that the crew are properly trained to be able to deal with emergency situations and that the carriage of a liferaft and EPIRB is considered. The owner’s attention was drawn to MGNs 20(M+F), 265(F) and MSN 1813(F) which provide guidance on these matters.

Published: July 2008

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015