At about 1230 on 24 July 2019, the owner/skipper of the single-handed creel fishing boat May C was found face down and unconscious in the sea by the crew of the fishing vessel, Sparkling Star.
Despite being recovered by Sparkling Star’s crew, May C’s skipper had drowned and could not be resuscitated.
Although the exact circumstances of the accident are unknown, it is most likely that May C’s skipper fell overboard when trying to clear the boat’s propeller of weed or other fouling.
- May C’s skipper drowned because he fell overboard and became incapacitated quickly by the effects of immersion in cold water.
- Although the exact circumstances of the accident are unknown, it is most likely that the skipper fell overboard when trying to clear the boat’s propeller of weed or other fouling.
- Had the skipper been wearing his PFD and carrying his PLB, his chances of survival would have been significantly increased.
- Although the skipper had shown awareness of safe operations, his decision not to wear a PFD or carry a PLB demonstrate that he was probably unaware of the severe hazard associated with falling overboard.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has issued a safety flyer for the fishing industry highlighting the lessons from this accident.
In response to the recommendations made in the Sea Mist report, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has published, in January 2020, the guidance document Single handed fishing. This pamphlet highlights the specific dangers associated with single-handed fishing and offers guidance to always wear a PFD, and carry a PLB.
Given the industry initiatives to increase the awareness of the importance of wearing a PFD, and the MAIB’s safety recommendations made in the Sea Mist report, no further recommendations regarding single-handed fishing have been considered necessary for inclusion in this report.
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