Other PicoMicroYacht

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Sinking off Shoreham

I tend to mention safety issues and mishaps on this blog, perhaps to remind myself not to be complacent about the dangers of being out at sea in a small boat. To put things in perspective, the largest group of people who drown in the UK are out walking or jogging and happen to fall in. But complacency at sea can provide the biggest risk.

I remind myself that accidents happen at sea. I recently posted on PicoMicroYacht's voyage from Littlehampton to Hove in which, at the end of my voyage, I went past Shoreham harbour in the dark, running into a fishing line off the pier. I was carefully looking out for craft entering or exiting the harbour and neglected to think about the fishermen. Bright lights shone down at me as they wondered what was going on.What if, distracted by dealing with the line, a fishing boat had exited and run down PicoMicroYacht?

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch recently reported on the sinking of a small fishing boat off Shoreham port. This was in the dark, in the early hours of the morning.

The navigation lights of the boat were inadequate and they were not keeping watch as they fished for mackerel. The boat was run down by a 144 ton scallop fishing boat because the person on watch was distracted by looking at their laptop.

The scallop dredging fishing boat

The small fishing boat was swamped by the bow wave of the larger vessel and sank in two minutes. Although there were life jackets on board, these were not worn.  Only one out of the crew survived to tell the story, having clung to a buoy and being rescued five hours later.

The MAIB provide their account of the sinking and what went wrong

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