During 2003/04 the RYA conducted research into the numbers and contributing
factors of entrapments under capsized dinghies. During that time, 44 incidents
As well as setting up the online reporting system, we looked at ways of
preventing entrapments by examining boat design and developing and testing
rescue techniques. In addition, air gap tests were conducted under a range of
boats and discussions took place with the major dinghy manufacturers.
Findings from the survey can be downloaded from the link on the right.
Key findings of the research:
- Dinghy sailing is still a very safe sport with the statistical risk of
getting stuck under the boat following a capsize extremely small;
- There are no clear patterns in the cause of incidents, which occurred in a
wide range of conditions and boats;
- Neither the experience of the sailor nor the equipment used suggested a
single dominant factor in the incidents recorded;
- The statistical risk to a dinghy sailor of becoming dangerously trapped is
tiny, but sailors should be aware that these incidents can happen;
- Rescue can be difficult in the time available and staying calm contributes
to the chance of escape;
- The most common cause of entrapment was 30% getting ropes tangled around the
body or limbs, 30% getting caught on other control lines and straps and 30%
involved some part of the trapeze harness;
- The most effective rescue of a trapped sailor is to right the boat as
rapidly as possible;
- The best prevention is good housekeeping aboard, maintaining elastic and
being aware of the problem.
Due to the lack of previous data it is impossible to establish a trend or an
indication as to whether entrapments are on the increase, but there is no
specific reason to think that they are.