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Don’t ruin a good day out on the water

People on a rib Use this checklist to keep you, your family and friends safe this season.

The tragic accident which took place in the Camel Estuary in Cornwall last May provides a salutary reminder to us all of the need to think safety.

In this incident the family of six were ejected from their RIB during a high-speed turn and subsequently run over by their own boat. Two people were killed and three others injured, two of them seriously.

What should have been a fun, rewarding and enjoyable day out ended in tragic circumstances and inconsolable grief for family, friends and loved ones.

The MAIB report of its investigation goes into detail about the contributing factors relating to this incident however there are simple steps you can take every time you go out on the water that will help keep you, your family and friends safe this season.

  1. Always wear a kill cord

    Always, always use a kill cord and ensure that it is correctly attached to the driver of the boat. Always switch off your engine when you are near someone in the water.

    The kill cord when correctly worn will stop the engine if the driver becomes dislodged from the helm position. 

  2.   Keep a good look out

    Ensure the driver of the boat keeps a proper lookout at all times. When towing anyone on water skis, wake-boards or inflatables always have a spotter in the boat to monitor the people being towed.

  3. Safe seating and good handholds

    When operating at speed, everyone should be securely seated with good handholds.

  4. Speed

    Speed should be matched to the conditions – in rougher conditions slow down.

  5. Good communication

    The driver should warn passengers and crew prior to making any manoeuvres at speed or approaching rough water or wash from other vessels.

  6. Know your limits

    Keep within your experience and ability. Be honest with yourself and get the necessary training to help you stay safe.  

This list is by no means exhaustive and does not substitute the requirement for practical training and on-board familiarisation.

It’s always a good idea to read the boat’s manual prior to going on the water in order to understand fully the way the boat handles under speed, the seating arrangements and other practical considerations.

Read the RYA Safety Advisory Notice 01/14 and find more information on safety.


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