The Marine Accident Investigation Branch of the the Department for Transport has published a report into the collision between the rigid inflatable boat Rib Tickler and a personal watercraft in the Menai Strait, Wales on 8 August 2020
The Summary of the report reads as follows:
On 8 August 2020, the rigid inflatable boat Rib Tickler and a personal watercraft collided at high speed in the Menai Strait, Wales. A passenger on board Rib Tickler was struck by the personal watercraft and fatally injured. The personal watercraft had been jumping across Rib Tickler’s wake when the rigid inflatable boat altered course across the personal watercraft’s path.
The two craft were operating too closely to each other at high speed and neither Rib Tickler’s driver nor the personal watercraft rider understood the other’s intentions. Furthermore, the knowledge and skill levels of the persons in control or overseeing the two craft were not appropriate to the manoeuvres being undertaken.
The key safety issues identified were:
Rib Tickler and the personal watercraft were operating in close proximity to each other, while carrying out uncoordinated high-speed manoeuvres.
The knowledge and skill levels of the persons in control or overseeing the two craft were not appropriate to the manoeuvres being undertaken. Neither of them had carried out an appropriate training course.
Although Isle of Anglesey County Council had a marine safety management system there was insufficient local governance of the marine environment, with a lack of resources, risk assessment for leisure users, or powers to manage their waterspace.
The inconsistent approach to personal watercraft management around the UK coast has a detrimental impact on the efforts being made to reduce irresponsible use.
In the early stages of the investigation, a safety recommendation was made to the Royal Yachting Association to review and amend its Start Powerboating and Personal Watercraft handbooks, and consider inclusion in the relevant training course syllabi, guidance on the importance of over-the-shoulder pre-manoeuvre checks, operating with other craft, the oversight of inexperienced helms and the crossing of waves and wakes.
A safety recommendation has been made to the Isle of Anglesey County Council to take measures to improve its governance of the Menai Strait by reviewing and if appropriate amending the in legislation in place, engaging with bodies and organisation with expertise in the management of personal watercraft and ensuring the council’s maritime team are adequately resourced to discharge its duties effectively.
The Royal Yachting Association and Personal Watercraft Partnership have been recommended to collaborate to formalise the creation of a cross-industry forum, focused on the safe and consistent management of personal watercraft in the UK’s coastal and inland waters.
Andrew Moll, Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, said:
“As the use of leisure craft in the UK becomes ever more popular, this tragic accident serves as a powerful reminder that uncoordinated, high-speed manoeuvres near other craft are unsafe. Personal watercraft, often referred to as jet skis, provide a unique and fun way to enjoy the water, but they are high performance machines, not toys. The completion of an appropriate training course will better equip the rider with skills and knowledge necessary for the safe use of a personal watercraft.”
“Although there are many harbour and local authorities that manage their waters to provide safe areas for all water users, there is an inconsistency of management around the UK coast, which can lead to conflicted interests and confusion. Following this investigation, I have recommended to the Royal Yachting Association and Personal Watercraft Partnership that a cross industry forum be formally created to provide a more consistent approach to the management of personal watercraft around the UK.”
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